STOP THE LIE – UPDATE THE ACT: DICK SMITH

Australia’s general aviation industry converges on Wagga Wagga to send a clear message of reform to Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack MP.

 

The Dick Smith presentation in Wagga Wagga on Thursday 26th April 2018 was a great success and it was fantastic to see so many AOPA Australia members along with local Riverina constituents in attendance.

The venue was at capacity with only standing room available, clearly demonstrating the importance and genuine interest in the issues presented.Many thanks must go to the local media, who turned out en-masse to document and report.

AOPA Pilot Magazine Journalist Paul Southwick had the opportunity to speak with a number of newspaper and television reporters, who were all very eager to communicate our industry’s concerns.

A big thank you must go to Dick Smith, who clearly and passionately communicated our industry’s frustration regarding the lack of action and reforms from our political representatives.

The presentation exposed nearly three decades of inaction and neglect, along with explaining the damage to regional townships and communities. Utilising a range of key data, including charts provided by AOPA Australia, Dick highlighted that declines in general aviation flight training and maintenance, which are the result of government and political neglect, have now manifested themselves into an airline pilot and maintenance employment crisis.

For the first time in the history of Australian aviation, our general aviation industry is unable to meet the employment demands of the airline sector, struggling under the enormous weight of regulatory burden, which has rendered general aviation uncompetitive and unsustainable – should the current regulatory framework continue.

The outcome now is that the airlines are desperately seeking to bypass general aviation in Australia by importing foreign pilots and maintenance crews under 457 VISAs.

The AOPA Australia is deeply concerned for the future of our general aviation community and stands fully opposed to the wholesale granting of 457 VISAs for pilots and maintainers, which we regard as a bandage to cover the open wound of regulatory and political failure.

The AOPA Australia believes that Australians want the assurance that comes from being flown by Australian trained pilots, whom have earned the reputation as being the safest in the world, the source of these pilots is general aviation.

Dick has called on the Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, to take positive action by reforming the Civil Aviation Act. The Deputy Prime Minister responded through local media stating;

“I’ve had a number of discussions with Dick Smith, and I appreciate that the industry wants to see changes made as soon as possible, but what I won’t do for anyone is rush policy change, especially when there might be safety implications”

“It’s all well and good to bind me to the Barnaby Joyce agreement, but the fact is Barnaby is not transport Minister anymore and, while I appreciate that he had discussions with Anthony Albanese, I was not in on those discussions.”

Watch the presentation video below:

 


This article from the AOPA Australia website – view more here.

A and R Aviation is a proud supporter of General Aviation Reform in Australia. Please visit the AOPA website, show your support and contact your local member to voice your concern!

 

MCCORMACK FACES AVIATION DOGFIGHT

Australia’s general aviation ­industry will campaign against Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack in his electorate, potentially even standing a candidate against him, if he fails to endorse regulatory reform.The Aircraft Owners and ­Pilots Association yesterday told The Australian it would set up a campaign office in Wagga Wagga, in Mr McCormack’s Riverina electorate, and consider running a candidate, if he failed to commit to changes to the Civil Aviation Act.

“The general aviation industry is in a perilous situation,” AOPA chief executive Ben Morgan said. “For the minister to come out and say he needs time (to consider reform) … is almost laughable. The Nationals have had carriage of the transport portfolio for many years.

“If our minister is not going to listen, I wonder if the people of Wagga would be prepared to have a conversation. We may even need to consider putting candidates forward (in Riverina and other electorates) … to see that these issues are resolved.”

AOPA, which represents thousands of pilots and business owners in general aviation across the country, is backing changes to the act negotiated by former civil aviation safety chief Dick Smith. Mr Smith in February revealed he had found consensus on amendments that then-deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce and Labor’s ­Anthony Albanese both indicated they could support.

These would require the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to ­operate in a manner that recognised the need for “an efficient and sustainable Australian aviation industry”, as well as the “highest level of safety in air navigation”. Many in general aviation, which includes charter, air emergency, pilot training and agricultural operations, believe the act’s current requirement on CASA to “regard safety as the most important consideration” has led to a tangle of costly, needless regulation.

Mr McCormack, who succeeded Mr Joyce on February 26, this week declined to endorse the Smith changes.

But yesterday Mr McCormack said he was happy to meet AOPA to discuss its concerns and reform ideas. “The deputy PM is certainly open to reform, after due consideration is given to any proposals put forward,” his spokesman said. “Reform such as this takes time to ensure everyone’s views are considered and to ensure there are no unintended consequences.”

CASA argues it already considers the financial impact of its regulations, but the issue is gaining traction nationally, with a Senate inquiry taking evidence about the impact of regulation on regional aviation costs.

Inquiry member XNT senator Rex Patrick called for urgent action to tackle the “cost of CASA” and produced CASA data showing revenue from its regulatory service fees rose from $2.9m in 2000 to $13.9m in 2017.

CASA’s staff ballooned from 621 in 2007 to 830 in 2017, while its operating budget rose from $129m to $180m over the same period. “Something has to change,’’ Senator Patrick said.

Mr Morgan said the decline in general aviation was undeniable, with 25 per cent of the fleet of 2993 aircraft not in use.

The Australian, 12th April 2018

A&R Aviation are great supporters of general aviation legislation reform in Australia.
We constantly see first hand what this over-regulation and cost burdening is doing to the industry that we know and love.
The industry is already facing a critical shortage of Engineers & Pilots, we urge the federal government to hear AOPA and actually start to implement change!