GA Senate investigation in limbo

The future of the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transportation Legislation Committee (RRAT) investigation into the general aviation industry remains in limbo as it has yet to be referred to the Senate after the federal elections held in May.

All Senate inquiries expire when parliament is prorogued and, if to continue in the new parliament, must be referred to the Senate committee.

Five months after the election, the nearly three-year-old survey of the GA industry remains outdated.

Although former RRAT President, Senator Susan McDonald, requested that the inquiry be dismissed, the office of the new RRAT President, Senator Glenn Sterle, said Australian flight that no comment on the investigation would be possible until the ALP government had responded to the interim report tabled last March.

The GA investigation was referred to the RRAT committee in December 2019 with an interim report date of December 2020 and a final report one year later. COVID restrictions then forced this to be amended until March 2022. The timelines were again amended with the interim report filed in March 2022 and the final report due October 20, 2022.

However, the federal election intervened and forced the investigation to lapse.

An early proponent of the GA survey was the Regional Aviation Association of Australia (RAAA). Current CEO Steve Campbell said the GA investigation should be closed so that all the work done by the GA community is not wasted,

“We would like the GA investigation to be completed; a lot of work has gone into it and it would be a shame not to see it come to fruition,” he said. “Hopefully the committee will come up with some good recommendations to give to the government to ease the burden on general aviation.

“We have come this far, and it is important for the general aviation community to see that the government is genuinely interested in finding solutions.”

The GA community has raised concerns that the PLA will disregard the work done by the Senate inquiry in favor of drafting a new white paper, which has been their policy long before the election. . This would further delay any revitalization measures.

“The GA inquiry has been going on for a few years already and we have told the government that if we know there are solutions now, we want the government to act now…we don’t want to wait for another two year process for us say what we already know,” Campbell said.

“The GA investigation has already revealed some things that can be worked on, and the government should start working on them immediately.”

The office of the Minister of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Catherine King, has been contacted to comment on the response to the interim report.

Norman D. Briggs