Correcting the Record

Inaccurate reporting on the completion of ATSB investigations by the ABC 7.30

8 March 2017

A story on ABC’s 7.30 program (7 March 2017) and an article on the ABC news website, “Air safety watchdog clearly failing”, contains inaccurate and misleading claims that require correction.

Firstly, the reports quote Mr Neil Hansford as saying:

"Until a case is resolved, there can be no remedial action taken by the relevant authorities, CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) or the Department of Transport or even private airport operators."

In fact, the ATSB does not wait for an investigation to be completed to bring safety matters to the attention of operators and authorities.

When the ATSB discovers critical safety issues during an investigation, it immediately brings them to the attention of relevant authorities and organisations to be addressed.

Examples of where the ATSB has made significant world-wide transport safety improvements before its investigations were completed include the uncontained engine failure of QF32 in November 2010 and Robinson helicopter R44 fuel tank risks in April 2013.

Mr Hansford also claimed that the ATSB's failure to meet its investigation targets was linked to its role in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

The search for MH370 has not affected the ATSB’s core functions. Additional funding was provided by the governments of Malaysia, the People’s Republic of China and Australia to assist the ATSB lead the search for the missing aircraft.

Australian aviation safety has not been compromised by the ATSB’s lead role in the search for MH370.

The ABC also quotes Mr Ben Morgan as saying “We cannot have scenarios where we're waiting five and seven years to wrap up an investigation”.

In fact, excluding delayed investigations beyond the control of the ATSB, the average time the ATSB takes to complete its reports is 14 months. The ATSB is seeking to improve its efficiency in meeting its self-imposed target of complex investigation reports published in 12 months.

Last update 08 March 2017