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CAA report a shocker

Hon Maurice Williamson MP National Party Transport Spokesman

11 May 2006

CAA report a shocker

The Auditor-General's report into the Civil Aviation Authority's performance should send a shiver down the spine of the travelling public, says National Party Transport spokesman Maurice Williamson.

He is commenting after the report was presented to Parliament's Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee this morning.

"The public have an absolute right to know that the aviation industry is operating in a safe manner, and this report shows the complete opposite. While giving the CAA a pass grade for the handling of the Airlines Group, the report shows appalling performance by the authority particularly in the area of General Aviation.

It says: 'The risk analysis and risk assessment processes are not as effective as they should be' and that 'the risk analysis does not necessarily 'feed into' the surveillance process.'

"The CAA has already been the subject of two critical reports by the Office of the Auditor-General, first in 1997 and again in 2000," says Mr Williamson.

"This report was an opportunity for the CAA to show it had taken on-board those critical findings, and taken the steps to remedy the problems. One would have expected the authority to have lifted its performance considerably but that clearly is not the case.

"CAA's handling of the important surveillance and monitoring roles is found to be woeful. Instead of treating operators on a risk rated basis, the CAA seems to be treating all operators the same.

The report says: 'In particular, we concluded that the CAA did not systematically assess the potential consequences of aviation accidents and incidents to identify accurately:
* the areas of highest risk; and * the aviation safety initiatives that offered the best safety benefits...'
The report is very critical about how the CAA handles 'Critical Findings', which are defined as an 'occurrence or deficiency that caused, or on it's own had the potential to cause, loss of life or limb.'

"The report found that many 'Critical Findings" weren't even being raised, and some of those that were, weren't even being notified to operators so they would know what it was that was required of them.

"Many that were raised weren't being properly checked to see if they had been completed, and those that were being 'closed' were, in many cases, taking more than 100 days to do with some taking more than 300 days.

"That is grossly unacceptable. The Minister should take immediate action to bring the CAA into line. Heads should roll at both the board and management level."

ENDS

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