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In this occurrence, the controller did not perceive the potential conflict between the aircraft, despite previous refresher training that should have assisted in the task.

Although the presence of the supervisor in the operations room created an opportunity to discuss an operational issue, it was not a priority. The controller should have discussed the issue at some other time when he was not responsible for an operational position. The supervisor was also in a position to defer the discussion with the controller, until a more suitable time or location, which would have reduced the likelihood of compromising operations.

While distraction could not be discounted as a contributing factor, the circumstances of the occurrence are consistent with the findings of the Airservices Australia June 2003 review, particularly with respect to low levels of situational awareness by controllers. Over time, the benefits of the implementation of the review recommendations in helping to develop controller awareness of potential performance limitations should become apparent.

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