Aug 26, 2016

Airservices Australia must remain in public ownership

If aviation safety isn’t a core function of government, what is?

The Federal Government should reveal its intentions over the future of Australia’s air traffic control system after it blocked the public release of a $600,000 report recommending the possible privatisation of AirServices Australia.

At a Senate budget estimates committee meeting on May 5, officials from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development revealed the Government had paid consultant KMPG $600,000 to conduct an efficiency review into the department’s operations.

The committee heard that the KPMG report recommended consideration of “different ownership structures’’ such as “part-private ownership’’ for AirServices Australia, which handles air-traffic control as well as other services at Australian airports including firefighting.

This week AirServices Australia confirmed it would slash 900 jobs from its 4500 workforce through the use of voluntary redundancies.

I am concerned that these redundancies represent an attempt to slash the organisation’s costs as a prelude to privatisation.

AirServices Australia is a central player in aviation safety in this country.

It should remain in public ownership, where the government of the day can ensure it maintains the highest possible safety standards.

I have attempted to access the KPMG report under Freedom of Information legislation, but the Government rejected my application.

Transport Minister Darren Chester should release the KPMG report as soon as possible and explain his plans to the community and the aviation industry.