The ATSB Annual Review documents ATSB's achievements and safety activities from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005 and outlines its business planning for 2005-2006.
Executive Directors message
In 2004-05 the ATSB benefited considerably from the funding boost for aviation investigations and aviation database replacement that was provided in the May 2004 Federal Budget. During the year, the Bureau recruited and commenced training 12 extra aviation safety investigators, instigated 109 aviation occurrence investigations and released 98 aviation investigation reports, up from around 60 in recent years. High profile aviation safety investigation reports released in 2004-05 included reports on investigations into a fatal Cessna C404 aircraft accident at Jandakot Airport WA, a fatal Emergency Medical Services (EMS) helicopter accident near Mackay, Qld and a Boeing 737 terrain proximity warning near Canberra. The Bureau also released nine aviation safety research reports.
During 200405 the ATSB issued 19 aviation safety recommendations and two safety advisory notices and successfully negotiated valuable safety actions by regulators, operators, manufacturers and other safety stakeholders. For example, following ATSB recommendations from the investigation into the EMS helicopter accident, the Queensland Emergency Services Department is improving standards and support for Community Helicopter Providers including requirements for night Visual Flight Rules (VFR) flights and the helicopter operator is requiring and training all pilots to Command Instrument Rating standard. The Bureau also completed Stage 1 of the Safety Investigation Information Management System (SIIMS) aviation database replacement project, which involved developing ATSB user requirements and the trial of software tools to support the improved management of safety investigations.
The ATSBs marine achievements in 200405 included 11 marine investigation reports including on the grounding of the cruise liner Astor, and the fatal collision between the bulk carrier Asian Nova and the fishing vessel Sassenach. The ATSB also undertook an extensive education campaign within the fishing industry on commercial fishing vessel safety.
In November 2004 the ATSB established an Adelaide regional office as a base for its rail team leader and two other rail investigators. Two rail investigators are based in the ATSBs Brisbane office and one in the Canberra central office. During 2004-05 the Bureaus rail safety investigation team initiated seven investigations on the Defined Interstate Rail Network (DIRN) under the Transport Safety Investigations Act 2003 (TSI Act) and released the first TSI Act rail investigation reports on freight train derailments at Ararat, Victoria and Bates, South Australia. The ATSB also completed a rail investigation report under Victorian legislation into the derailment and subsequent collision at Chiltern between a freight train and a passenger train.
On road safety, the ATSB is coordinating the Australian Government involvement, in partnership with the NSW and Victorian governments and private sector organisations, in a large-scale trial of a best-practice education programme for novice drivers. During 2004-05 the Bureau released 32 road safety research and statistical reports, including a research report on road texture and crash risk and a survey of community attitudes. Steady progress was also made with road safety jurisdictions and stakeholders, but with substantial challenges remaining to meet or better the 2010 target of no more than 5.6 road deaths per 100,000 population.
The October 2004 International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) report on ICAOs May/June 2004 audit of the ATSB expressed high satisfaction with Australias legislative, organisational and training framework for aviation safety investigation and the professional and efficient conduct of the ATSB investigations reviewed in detail. As expected, the audit team did make a number of recommendations for improvement against which the ATSB has undertaken corrective actions.
Following the 15-fatality Metroliner aircraft accident near Lockhart River, Queensland, in May 2005, the Bureau commenced its major investigation into the causes of this tragedy and released a preliminary factual report in June 2005. In November 2004 the Queensland Government asked the ATSB to chair a joint Queensland Transport investigation into the derailment of the Cairns Tilt Train north of Bundaberg, which injured a significant number of the 157 passengers and crew. The Queensland Minister for Transport released an interim report on this derailment on 16 February 2005.
The Bureau is continuing its commitment to training its investigators through the Diploma of Transport Safety Investigation course. In 200405 fifteen staff completed the TSI Diploma and a further 30 are progressing through the course.
During the year the Bureau signed a number of Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) including with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), the Victorian Rail Safety Regulator and with transport safety bodies in Indonesia and South Korea.
The ATSB continued to release all of its significant safety outputs to the public. Hits on the ATSB website www.atsb.gov.au amounted to around sixteen million.
A number of valued staff members retired during the year or prior to publication of this Review. I note in particular the contribution of Jon Henchy in Transport Safety Statistics. From early June 2005 I was off-line assisting the Rt Hon Sir John Wheeler with a review of Airport Security and Policing and Joe Motha has acted as ATSB Executive Director in addition to his normal duties with great professionalism and dedication which I wish to acknowledge with thanks.
I am grateful to the former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, the Hon. John Anderson MP, the Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads, the Hon. Jim Lloyd MP, and to the Secretaries of the Department of Transport and Regional Services, Mr Ken Matthews AO and Mr Mike Taylor for their support throughout the year. We look forward to working with the new Minister for Transport and Regional Services, the Hon. Warren Truss MP in 200506. The ATSB was again grateful for the bipartisan support it received for its safety work. The ATSBs ongoing effectiveness as the Australian Governments primary transport safety investigator remains reliant on both the perceptions and reality of its independence, fairness and professionalism.
|Publication date:||28 October 2005|