Financial year 2007-08 was in many respects a watershed year. In road safety, the November election of the Rudd Government led to the move of road safety from the ATSB to the Department proper from the end of March 2008 to better align with the new Government's priorities. While I was proud to chair the National Road Safety Strategy Panel from 1999 to 2008, the establishment of a higher level Commonwealth/State body holds the promise of making further gains in reducing the nation's unacceptably high road toll. However, I was personally sad to lose the road safety branch led by Joe Motha and John Goldsworthy and their dedication and professionalism from the ATSB and am grateful for all they did while in the Bureau.
In surface safety investigation, we exceeded our output targets and are well positioned to improve future timeliness of reports. I was particularly pleased with the final Pasha Bulker marine investigation report and the rail investigation report at Ban Ban Springs and associated work on the safety of very large trucks at level crossings. I thank Peter Foley in particular for his leadership in surface safety.
Internationally, we were instrumental in gaining International Maritime Organization approval of a new marine investigation code and the role of Patrick Hornby deserves special commendation. Our contribution to the Government 'ITSAP' assistance program to Indonesia included substantial input led by Alan Stray in the finalisation of the Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee investigation reports on fatal 737 accidents involving Garuda and Adam Air. Alan and Kerryn Macaulay also ensured that the ATSB's part of the 2008 ICAO state audit was very positive. A wide range of other ATSB outputs, including aviation research, technical analysis, occurrence notifications, and IT, benefited from Kerryn's leadership.
The greatest organisational pressure during 2007-08 was faced by the aviation investigation branch led by Julian Walsh. It is very difficult to select up to 80 investigations from the more than 8,000 accidents and incidents reported annually and inevitably parties associated with occurrences on the margins may not agree with the selection. There are also competing priorities between investigating fatal general aviation accidents to a level sought by state and territory coroners (and the further resources needed in any ensuing inquests), and doing more investigation of fare-paying passenger regular public transport incidents where there may be more future safety value. There is often a further trade-off between numbers of new investigations and timeliness. I am extremely grateful for Julian's leadership in managing, with his team leaders, in this environment. The 'Miller Review' was a further pressure that required substantial ATSB input. The new Government's announcement, through portfolio Minister the Hon Anthony Albanese, of an aviation Green and White Paper process was seen as a significant opportunity and warmly welcomed by the ATSB.
I also wish to publicly thank the ATSB training manager, Colin McNamara, for volunteering to coordinate the ATSB's central office move from 15 Mort Street to 62 Northbourne Avenue. His planning during 2007-08 led to a smooth move in September 2008.
Kym Bills, Executive Director
|Publication date:||31 October 2008|
|ISBN:||978 1 921490 56 9|