The following response dated 25 May 2004 was received from the
Department of Transport and Regional Services:
Thank you for your letter of 11 March 2004 enclosing a copy of Air
Safety Investigation Report 200204328 on the accident involving a
Piper PA-32-300 aircraft registered VH-MAR, which occurred at
Hamilton Island Aerodrome, Queensland on 26 September 2002; and the
Australian Transport Safety Bureau's (ATSB) research report
discussion papers, 'Cannabis and its Effects on Pilot Performance
and Flight Safety: A Review', and 'Alcohol and Human Performance
from an Aviation Perspective: A Review'.
I note that you request a response within 60 days of your letter,
and I regret the delay in my reply.
In relation to the investigation report, I refer to recommendation
20040040 on page 58. As you are aware, the Minister has tasked the
Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and the Department to
jointly review the possible safety benefits of the introduction of
a drug and alcohol testing programme for the Australian aviation
The terms of reference for this review have now been approved by
the Minister and a copy is attached. Submissions have been invited
from industry and the community in general by 30 June 2004, prior
to a report being presented to the Minister by 30 September
Should you wish to raise this or any other relevant matters with
the review team, please contact [name] on telephone [phone];
facsimile [fax]; or by e-mail at [email]. I encourage you to
consider making a submission.
The response included the following details of the review:
On 18 March 2004, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB)
released its accident investigation report relating to a fatal
accident on Hamilton Island in September 2002. A finding of the
report was that the possible adverse effects on pilot performance
of fatigue, recent cannabis use, and post-alcohol impairment could
not be discounted. In the report, the ATSB made a number of
recommendations, with recommendations 20040039 and 20040040
relating to the Department of Transport and Regional Services (the
Department) and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and
jointly establishing the safety benefits of the introduction of a
drug and alcohol testing program to the Australian aviation
industry for safety-sensitive personnel. It was stated that where
possible, this programme should harmonise with existing and
evolving national and international regulations.
On 18 March 2004, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for
Transport and Regional Services, the Hon John Anderson MP (the
Minister), subsequently released a Media Release announcing that he
supported the ATSB recommendations and that he had asked the
Department and CASA to jointly develop terms of reference for a
review of this issue.
The aim of the review is to comprehensively examine the safety
benefits of introducing a drug and alcohol testing programme for
the Australian aviation industry. There is a clear case for
carefully considering the best way to address the impacts of
alcohol and drug use on aviation safety.
The review team will be drawn from the Department and CASA and will
report regularly to a Steering Committee comprising the
Department's Assistant Secretary, Aviation Operations, and the
CASA's Executive Manager, Corporate Affairs.
The review team will undertake an extensive review by way of formal
research and consultation prior to preparing a report to the
Minister by 30 September 2004.
Undertake Preliminary Analysis
In conducting the review, CASA and the Department will draw on
information from the following sources:
the ATSB's Aviation Safety Investigation Report - 200204328,
(Hamilton Island Aerodrome);
previous analysis undertaken by CASA;
information from other industries such as the petrochemical and
food industries; and
international and Australian experiences in developing testing
Identify Issues and options
Issues that will need to be considered as part of the review will
include but not be limited to the following:
whether testing would be on a random basis or a regular
who would administer the testing process (CASA or industry);
whether testing should be part of a company's safety management
the need to define safety-sensitive personnel;
alternative and/or supplementary programs that are used for alcohol
and drug management (eg mentoring, and differentiating between a
regime for alcohol management which might need to be different to
other drug management)
the costs involved with establishing programs (including education
campaigns) and the ongoing testing regimes.
Preparation o f report
The review team will prepare a report at the conclusion on its
evaluation of issues relating to drug and alcohol testing within
the Australian aviation industry, and identifying any safety
benefits of introducing a testing programme.
It is proposed that the Australian aviation industry (particularly
commercial operators), the Australian Passenger Safety Association,
the Unions and other government agencies will be consulted to seek
their views on this issue. Submissions will be called via a
mail-out to major stakeholders and advertisements. In addition,
these Terms of Reference will be posted on the Department's and
CASA's websites so as to enable other interested parties to lodge
submissions. Each submission received by the review team will be
Subject to their written consent, the contact details of
persons/organisations who make submissions will be posted on the
Department's and CASA's websites to enable interested parties to
obtain a copy of a particular submission directly from the author
of the submission.
A report will be produced at the conclusion of this review and
submitted to the Minister. Individuals and organisations consulted
in its preparation will be noted in an Appendix to the Report,
unless requested otherwise.
The report itself is expected to be freely available from the
Department's and CASA's websites. Should the report lead to
subsequent action to develop appropriate regulatory mechanisms,
such action will be subject to extensive and well established
consultative procedures, through CASA's Standards Consultative
Committee (refer http:/irrp.casa.gov.au/scc).
Submissions will be called for by 1 May 2004 with a closing date of
30 June 2004.
The scheduled completion date for the review, including preparation
of the report to the Minister, is 30 September 2004.