Things that go bump in the night,
The OneSky Great White Elephant emerges from the clouds Confused

[Image: white-elephant-in-the-sky2.jpg?w=800]

Via the Oz:

Quote:OneSky deal: Defence ‘pays more to get less’

[Image: 580ee70a608bc3186a7e024b4fe19edb?width=650]
The joint OneSKY project was saved only when Defence yielded to down-scoping it had previously rejected. Picture: Alex Coppel.
  • The Australian

  • 12:00AM May 7, 2018
  • [size=undefined]3[/size]EAN HIGGINS
  • [size=undefined][Image: ean_higgins.png]

The $1.5 billion plan to integrate Australia’s military and civilian air traffic control and navigation systems nearly fell over when Defence refused to accept massive downgradings of the services the RAAF was to receive to keep its fin­ancial contribution within budget.

The joint OneSky project was saved only when Defence yielded to down-scoping it had previously rejected, including abandoning the original agreement with Airservices Australia to introduce new approach systems for Darwin and Townsville. Rather than have Defence air traffic controllers guide approaches to those two airfields with new OneSky technology installed at each of them, pilots will now be talked down by controllers in Brisbane.

While the scope of the equipment and services Defence will get out of OneSky will be sharply cut by up to $250 million, the total cost of Defence’s contribution has nonetheless blown out from $521m to $764m.

As late as February 18, documents released under Freedom of Information show Defence and Airservices Australia were in fierce disagreement.

That afternoon, one of Airservices Australia’s point men on OneSky, Paul Logan, wrote to Rear Admiral Anthony Dalton at Defence saying Airservices had “rejected the changes that are unacceptable” and it was necessary to consider whether “we need to meet tonight to determine whether this sidelines the agreement”.

Government-owned but aviation industry-funded Airservices runs the country’s civilian air traffic control and navigation system, which is separate from the RAAF’s systems.

OneSky, scheduled for introduction by 2025, is designed to integrate them with new state of the art technology.

The documents show testy exchanges, with one of Defence’s senior officers on the project, Group Captain Richard Haines, in August telling Airservices that Defence would not put any more money into OneSky unless convinced it was affordable which, he said, he did not think likely.

In another exchange, Captain Haines said one of Airservices’s down-scoping proposals was “completely at odds with the undertaking that Paul Logan has given”.

Six weeks after he first proposed the cuts, in November Airservices chief executive Jason Harfield wrote to Chief of Air Force Gavin Davies acknowledging that Defence “does not support the consolidation of Darwin and Townsville approach services into Airservices’ Brisbane facility”.

Mr Harfield warned Air Marshal Davies that without those cuts, “our assessment is that the remaining cost reductions will not achieve this outcome”, being to keep Defence’s contribution to its budgeted $521m.

A Defence spokesman yesterday said “consolidation of these approach services ensures the Defence component of the (One­Sky) project remains affordable, without compromising the integrity or safety of Defence air traffic services”.

The FOI documents were obtained by Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick, who said they showed the government was going to “get less for more”.

“Defence seems, on the evidence, to have paid $243m more for up to $250m less equipment,” Senator Patrick said.

“This equates to a half-billion dollar shift in price from the original program costs.

“We see government cutting health, education and aged-care spending, which is under intense scrutiny in the Senate, but Defence can wipe a quarter of a billion dollars from taxpayers’ ledger in the secret stroke of a pen.

“They were not forthcoming with this information under questioning at estimates — indeed they misled through omission.”

Despite leaks coming out of Defence and Airservices that the project was not going well, Mr Harfield repeatedly told senators, and The Australian, that the project was going to plan.

An Australian National Audit Office report in February found OneSky was running more than two years behind schedule, saying “delivery of (OneSky) may be impacted by dependent Airservices and Defence organisational in­efficiencies, driven by divergent goals, or lack of oversight and control”.

An Airservices spokeswoman said the organisation had been “completely transparent”.

And today also from 'that man' Higgins, via the Oz: 

Quote:Regionals to subsidise Defence bill

[Image: b207ed198b8eb8806a8cff80dca57fa6]EAN HIGGINS
Airservices Australia will hit regional air service operators to help subsidise the cost of hosting military air traffic controllers.

Regional airlines to subsidise Defence bill

Airservices Australia will hit Top End regional air service operators with higher charges to subsidise the cost of hosting military air-traffic controllers in Brisbane to guide pilots flying into Darwin and Townsville.

The bizarre measure was part of a desperate bid by government-owned Airservices, which runs civilian air-traffic control, to keep Defence from dropping out of the troubled $1.5 billion OneSKY project to integrate the civilian and military airspace management systems with state-of-the-art technology by 2025.

Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick said Airservices would likely be grilled on the price increase when its officers next come before Senate estimates, including whether it breaches competition law about cross-subsidisation.

As revealed by The Australian last week, documents obtained by Senator Patrick under Freedom of Information law show last year Defence threatened to put no more money into OneSKY until it was convinced it was still affordable, something military chiefs doubted.

A massive blow-out in costs of the project, which has suffered a series of budget over-runs, disagreements, delays and questions about probity meant Defence could no longer get all the original benefits from OneSKY that had been agreed under the original deal with Airservices.

To keep Defence’s contribution to the budgeted $521 million, Airservices chief executive Jason Harfield proposed a series of “down-scoping” measures worth up to $250m.

These included not installing OneSKY approach services in Darwin and Townsville for military air-traffic controllers who now direct both civilian and ­military traffic at those airports, contrary to what had originally been agreed.

Rather, the Darwin and Townsville approach services would be “consolidated” in Brisbane, Mr Harfield proposed, and Airservices would host military controllers in its Brisbane centre for that purpose. Defence recoiled from the proposal, and Mr Harfield offered a sweetener: free office accommodation.

In September, he wrote to Chief of Air Force Gavin Davies: “I would like to reassure you that Airservices will provide, at no cost to Defence, the facility and equipment necessary in Brisbane.”

Eventually, Defence buckled and agreed to the consolidation to keep to the $521m budget, but subsequently, the federal government nonetheless agreed to give a further $243m to Defence for its side of the project, amounting to a half-billion-dollar loss of value for taxpayers.

Airservices funds its budget by charges on the aviation industry, and in the letter to Air Marshal Davies, Mr Harfield wrote: “We would intend to recover these costs (of hosting military controllers in Brisbane) by extending our existing charging regime at Darwin and Townsville for civilian aircraft.”

Senator Patrick said: “This somewhat flippant remark from the head of Airservices is very disturbing and indicates the organisation is out of touch with community expectation.”

Airservices spokesman Tim de Raadt refused to answer questions about the price-hike plans, including how much extra Airservices would charge air operators, whether the industry had been told, how the organisation justified charging the private air sector more, and whether it was sure this did not raise competition law issues. comment -  Dodgy

MTF...P2  Cool
P2 – “ comment –“

Well I have one. That Senate committee has just spent a short while (and a great deal of public money) poncing about in FNQ; listening to real folk who really suffer from the tyranny of distance. Those who must  rely heavily on ‘air services’ and would, very much like to have affordable air services. The country folk, who live, work, spend and vote in FNQ will really love having their hopes dashed, particularly when they have gone to the trouble and expense of ‘talking’ to the very politicians who can stop the One Pie in the Sky project, but won’t, or will  find plausible excuses to avoid saying they can’t; which neatly disguises the true fact that they dare not. Who needs ‘em. Just boycott the airlines for a year – watch the changes happen then, quick smart.

Oh, my comment – Committees -  they’re bloody useless, an ineffective and expensive waste of time, money and energy.

Nah - sit still - I’ll get ‘em in – I need some fresh air.

Shock horror, Electric Blue’s white elephant has blown the budget by a quarter of a billion dollars and the ‘game’ isn’t finished yet. Oh well, I do recall some people advising that other useless piece of crap Houstoblame and the Government that Electic Blue was all piss and wind. It would seem the chickenshit has come home to roost. I mean let’s face it; only a Government could own and manage a monopoly business and totally fuck it up. So am I surprised? Nah, not really.

“Australian Government; another day, another clusterfuck”.
Meanwhile; back at the Carnival.

I reckon Old mate Rex and the tax paying, voting, air travelling public are about to get a lesson on ‘the way things are’. They are about to discover just how little power they have and enter the realms of aviation frustration.

Sen. Gallacher and a couple of others have been smelling the rot growing for a while now and trying to get to the bottom of this colossal scam. The clown in the electric blue suit is only the ‘barker’, a tout; or a pimp (if you prefer) brainless, verbose, disingenuous, stuffed full of his own sense of worth. The sort who would, in less PC days, have been standing out the front of the tent which housed the Elephant man and the bearded lady copulating, flogging the tickets and touting the ‘entertainment’. But, he don’t own the circus; no Sir.

[Image: article-2185060-146E5EF6000005DC-1000_964x865.jpg]

That is owned and managed by others, who wouldn’t be seen dead attending their nasty little money making side show and take great pains to ensure they cannot be directly connected. Even a good, strong, well informed Senate committee couldn’t lay a glove on ‘em – even if it wanted to; which seems, on past form, unlikely.

The Senate committee have repeatedly proven, beyond a reasonable mans doubt, that they are essentially useless. Huff, Puff and theatre; but when the chips are down and important things, particularly things related aviation need to be changed – they get rolled by the agencies – every time – and they keep falling for it. What we would save by-passing the committee’s would just about pay for the inevitable One-Sky scam and probably leave enough change to buy the Harbour bridge (again).  

Thank you – keep the change.

It’s about time the airlines weighed in to this One Big Pie debacle. It is going to cost a bomb and, for this class of money, they would be entitled to demand guaranteed time savings and iron clad reduction of delay; to a standard which would support litigation.  Of course if that happened, ASA would simply guarantee to not exceed the promulgated ‘holding’ or slot times; then expand it to one hour holding and a 30 minutes either side of a slot – same service for a lot more money. Of course the dear old travelling public will still get shovelled into smaller seats, longer queues and even more degrading security (at a cost) and have to stump up the same inflated fare – or; fee for service if you will. For they most certainly are getting a jolly good ‘servicing’.

Toot - toot.
Update - Via 'that man':

Quote:Anger at Airservices charges
[Image: 56e8b9c45e88b6d16e07914a6101b93b]12:00amEAN HIGGINS
The commercial aviation industry has expressed outrage over the latest cost blowout in the OneSKY project. 

The commercial aviation industry has expressed outrage that Airservices Australia will be “extending” charges on operators flying to Darwin and Townsville to fund a deal it has struck to keep Defence in the troubled OneSKY air traffic control project.

Questions have been raised about whether the move complies with competition law, after confidential documents showed Airservices chief executive Jason Harfield warned that a new agreement with Defence would have to satisfy the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission that “the allocation of costs does not include any form of cross subsidisation”.

As revealed by The Australian this week, documents obtained by Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick under Freedom of Information laws show Defence considered pulling out of the $1.5 billion OneSKY project, which seeks to integrate the civilian and military air traffic control systems into a new, state-of-the-art network by 2025.

Delays and cost blowouts led to arguments between the two government organisations.

When Defence insisted Airservices keep its commitment that Defence would pay no more than its budgeted $521 million share, Mr Harfield proposed a range of down-scoping measures to cut $250m out of the military side of the project.

This included abandoning the original plan to install OneSKY technology at Darwin and Townsville, airports where RAAF air traffic controllers provide approach services for both civilian and military traffic.

Instead, Mr Harfield proposed the military controllers would be “consolidated” at Airservices’ facility in Brisbane, to guide down pilots into Darwin and Townsville from there.

Defence initially rejected the plan, but reluctantly agreed after a warning from Mr Harfield that without that measure, the Defence budget for the project would have to rise.

To make it more palatable, Mr Harfield said they would be hosted in Airservices’ Brisbane air traffic facility at no cost.

In September, he wrote to Chief of Air Force Gavin Davies: “I would like to reassure you that Airservices will provide, at no cost to Defence, the facility and equipment necessary in Brisbane.

“We would intend to recover these costs by extending our existing charging regime at Darwin and Townsville for civilian aircraft.”

Mr Harfield told The Australian “there will be no increase in charges to customers to deliver OneSKY”.

“The consolidation of Darwin and Townsville approach services to Brisbane saves the Australian taxpayer while not impacting on Defence service provision and capability,” Mr Harfield said. “In fact, this option aligns Darwin and Townsville approach service provision with Airservices and Defence broader practice of remotely providing approach services.”

Mr Harfield pointed to Airservices’ recent consolidation of its Cairns and Adelaide approach services to Brisbane and Melbourne respectively.

But Mr Harfield did not explain what “extending our existing charging regime” at Darwin and Townsville meant, and this question to Airservices spokeswoman Leah Slattery went unanswered.

Senator Patrick said “high airfares are having a devastating effect on attracting and retaining people in these communities”.

The executive director of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Benjamin Morgan, warned: “It can’t be seen as reasonable that commercial operators are going to have to pay more in charges just because Defence doesn’t want to put its hand in its pocket.”

In a letter to Defence in August about renegotiating the OneSKY deal, Mr Harfield said “we must satisfy ourselves and … the ACCC, that the allocation of costs does not include any form of cross-subsidisation”.

MTF...P2  Cool

Ultimately the Australian taxpayer and fare paying public will pay (financially) for this foolishness.

Ultimately Australian Regional locations and local businesses will suffer for this foolishness.

As for Defence having a whinge, well when they (the Guv’mint) spend hundreds of billions each year fighting in wars that aren’t ours, funded by taxpayer dollars, they can hardly moan about Electric Blues proposal.

Qantas and Virgin will have their standard sook, big deal, the additional costs will be lumped onto the passengers (us). The grubs already gouge regional areas so they will just gouge those areas a little more. There will, as always, only be one loser, us. Life will go on, Politicians will still fly for free in business class, Electric Blue and his giant buccular will still receive his disgusting annual bonus, and Australia’s demise into a third world aviation cluaterf#ck will continue unabated..

On the A4ANZ cartel & Harfwit's buccular -  Rolleyes

GD: "..Qantas and Virgin will have their standard sook, big deal, the additional costs will be lumped onto the passengers (us). The grubs already gouge regional areas so they will just gouge those areas a little more. There will, as always, only be one loser, us..." 

But Gobbles the Red Rat is just so charitable to us country folk - just look at what QF contributed to regional economies in the last financial year... Dodgy 

Via the Oz:

Quote:Qantas operations delivered $5bn to regional economy

Qantas’s operations delivered more than $5 billion to the economy in regional Australia in the last financial year, according to a report.

The report comes as the cost of regional airfares has become a political issue, with outback residents airing their frustration at a Senate ­inquiry.

The report, which Qantas commissioned from Deloitte ­Access Economics, finds that $3.7bn in value was added from tourism spending in the regions. This in turn supported 36,000 jobs. Spending by tourists carried by the Qantas group airlines added $1.7bn in value to regional Queensland and $630 million in Western Australia.

The report estimates that the group makes $884m in direct contributions to the economy from the regional operations of the Qantas Group.

On top of this, there was more than $706m in indirect contributions to suppliers in the bush.

QantasLink chief executive John Gissing said that each year the carrier worked with more than 1200 suppliers from around the country “for everything from sourcing fresh barramundi on the north coast of WA, beef from country NSW or having our aircraft painted by a family-owned business in Townsville”.

The research also shows that Qantas directly provided 1034 jobs in regional Australia in roles such as cabin crew and pilots. ­Indirectly, it supports an extra 4599 jobs through areas such as catering.

Mr Gissing has recently been quoted in Qantas advertisements that have appeared in Mount Isa and Cloncurry, as well as Longreach, explaining the drivers ­behind airfares in the bush and ­acknowledging “frustration that the fares you pay are often higher than fares between capital cities”.

“Some of our regional routes actually run at a loss,” the ad says.

“Others are close to break-even. Busy flights and higher last-minute fares do not equal super profits.”

The carrier says in the ad that it has suspended its most expensive fares in key regional markets.

Here is the QF bollocks AD which was tabled at the Senate Inquiry public hearing at Cloncurry:

[Image: pdf.png]
Qantas advertisement, ‘Mount Isa and Cloncurry, we are listening’, tabled by the Cloncurry Shire Council at a public hearing in Cloncurry, Queensland on 12 April 2018.

Quote:[Image: QF-bollocks.jpg]

 As a counterpoint to that I notice that finally the Hamish Griffin essay exhibit has also been tabled -  Rolleyes :

Quote:[Image: pdf.png] Additional information provided by Mr Hamish Griffin. Examples of fares and other information.


Mr Robbie Katter; State Member for Traeger made mention in his submission to the Senate enquiry that on the 9th March 2017 airlines in Australia and New Zealand announced the formation of a lobby group they say was formed to fight infrastructure constraints, high taxes and other matters of aviation policy (called A4ANZ) .

This group includes Regional Express (Rex), Qantas and Virgin Australia - the 3 airlines that service the Mount Isa Routes. It also includes Air New Zealand who have recently
announced a severing of their code sharing partnership with Virgin for what one would
assume is because of irregularities in air fare profit sharing which I will demonstrate lat er.

Former Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman Graeme
Samuel wasnamed asthe inaugural chair ofA4ANZ.

Mr Katter goes on to say that given that there appears to be a lack of competition in
regional areas that are serviced by members of A4ANZ it would be prudent for the inquiry to make comment on whether it believes the existence of the group increases the risk of anticompetitive behaviour in regional Australian markets. Additionally, it is recommended that the group's activities are reviewed as part of a broader investigation into airline conduct in regional markets...

...Examples fares and ridiculousness Comparisons

A4ANZ stated in their submission to this enquiry, that publicly available data collected by
the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities demonstrate that
domestic airfare prices are in fact lower, in real terms, than a decade ago. Despite this,
airlines have been accused of "ripping off" consumers living in regional, rural and remote
communities in Australia, with no evidence to support this proposition.

...Landing fees

A4ANZ stated in their Submission, Airport charges represent a significant proportion of
airfares - particularly on regional and rural routes. In some cases the charges add more than 30% to the base ticket price. Indeed, one of biggest roadblocks to the airlines' ability to introduce new and grow existing routes is high airport charges. In stark contrast to the reducing airfares offered by domestic airlines, Australian airports are now collecting more revenue per passenger and generating significantly higher profits than their international benchmarks. And whilst they may not be as profitable as the major airports, the majority of the most expensive airports in Australia are in northern regional Australia. In some ports, the costs are more than five times those of the major airports in southern states Cloncurry Shire Council in an act of transparency clearly demonstrated in their submission that Council has subsidised fees to encourage airlines to offer lower prices for our residents but we are yet to see any benefits to the consumer.

Landing taxes levied by Cloncurry Shire Council equate to less than 5% of the fare. What
airlines often fail to acknowledge is that every cent collected at Cloncurry Airport through
these fees is injected back into the local community to offset the lack of royalties and
government assistance being provided to an area that produces a significant amount of
wealth for the nation...


A4ANZ in their Submission to this enquiry on behalf of their members states that in two
recent parliamentary inquires, the Western Australian Government's Inquiry into Regional Airfares in Western Australia and the Federal Government's Inquiry into Opportunities for and Methods for Stimulating the Tourism Industry in Northern Australia, Committee members raised the concept of allowing foreign airlines to operate domestic routes - or Cabotage - as a potential means for increasing competition and improving pricing on regional routes in Australia. However, there is no business case for making changes to the current cabotage restrictions and no international precedent for doing so. However at the time of writing this, I have once again checked Air New Zealand's booking website and found a on way flight from Cloncurry to Christchurch for $568 and the same flight on the Virgin web site for $1000.71. Virgin and Air NZ code share the same flights.

And yet A4ANZ still maintain in their submission that Productivity Commission research has shown that allowing international entrants to operate domestic routes would be unlikely to lead to efficiency gains. Moreover, the results of lifting the restrictions in terms of the impact on Australia's aviation network have been outlined previously and would be widespread, with negative effects on investment, employment and safety standards.

Furthermore, A4ANZ's members have cautioned that implementing a varied policy for one region could create the opportunity to expand this to other regions and cause material damage to domestic airlines. A4ANZ would like to reiterate that it is unequivocally opposed to any changes to the current cabotage restrictions in place in Australia. I bet they are!!

Well done HG, the chocfrog is in the mail -  Wink

Unfortunately HG I am not sure you're going to like the answers to your QON and definitely don't hold your breath for the answers. If BO has anything to say about this inquiry it could be a long time before it is completed -  Undecided

Quote:Questions for the committee.
• What power does the federal government have to force the airlines to be fair and equitable and make changes to their pricing structure and the deliverables that they sell and we as customers pay for?
• What outcomes are you hoping for as a result of the enquiry?
• Does the committee believe that some type of governing regulation of air routes would
bring improvement in service and fair pricing?
• Is the committee able to obtain stats on the number of complaints received by the ACCC
relating to airline service delivery and/or price gouging?

MTF...P2  Cool

Oh what a robust laugh!! Thank you Mr Gissing for your feeble attempt at spinning the fare gouging saga and making sure that your airlines ‘good will and concern for the community’ is backed by a crappy Deloitte paper. Remember John, those ‘reports’ are only as accurate as the information put into them. I myself have had the pleasure of bullshitting to Deloitte’s to get the outcome I had preconceived! And what a report that it was!

What a load of Rat inspired bullshit. Doesn’t explain the $2k return airfares Moranbah/Brisbane/Moranbah John? Didn’t one of your executives say (off the record but was overheard) that ‘Qantas aims to charge top dollar fares to mining communities because Miners can afford to pay the fares’? Interesting summation you arrogant asswipe considering mining towns are normally only half populated by Miners, and the rest of the town is full of elderly, battlers, farmers, small struggling businesses and the sick who need to fly for health care. Plus you offer the oldest and shittiest planes in your fleet and terrible schedules that don’t meet the towns best needs. Oh, and don’t forget you often don’t purchase fuel in those towns and you pay small understaffed ground handlers a handful of sheckles to turn the aircraft around, while you whinge and complain about passenger head taxes and landing fees while pulling in a billion dollar profit you pathetic grub.

P.S As for that pathetically useless, spineless and testicle lacking ACCC, they are about as useful as an enema kit fillled with Turpentine..

‘Safe, profitable and gouged airfares for all’
Oh, dear, what can the matter be.

I may yet need to reach for the tin hat and Kevlar jacket – hope not – but I think its time to bring a little perspective to the table regarding air fares to ‘remote’ towns and cities. Lets take Mt Isa as a test case. There are aircraft operators there and it’s a big enough place to give a fair spread of the population variants. There is a mine, agriculture and the associated infrastructure required of a large regional town – city, if you insist.

Suppose a few of the big interests got together and decided to kick off their own air services, as a non profit outfit, to service the community needs in a philanthropic manner.

I won’t bore you with the thirty odd spread sheets required to analyse the best service and anyway there is no such animal. Whichever way you cut it up – there is no way a local airline can supply all the people, all the time, with there hearts desire. So from the kick off there must be compromises; commercially democratic ones. For example would your primary service be to Brisbane or Townsville? Pick one or buy two aircraft. That ain’t going please everyone as whichever way you jump, there will be a transfer to a flight to the ultimate destination. Brisbane has a wider selection of direct flights so, lets go there. Ok, so that’s the primary route, now what about a milk run for passengers in the larger towns? That means another aircraft; schedule simple enough – out AM – back PM.

In theory – you’d think a jet for the long haul and a big propeller turbine should do the job nicely. Well it won’t do, not at all, not sensible. Take the jet for example – Isa to Bris every morning, 60% load factor - then back again every evening – financial suicide. Ok so lets up the ante and do Isa, Townsville, Bris, Sydney, you are now entering a world of hurt. The aircraft must have a 60% (ish) load to break even on every sector; Isa – Townsville may be a break even run but once the TL passengers are off – if no one gets on to go the Bris – you’re buggered again and no matter what price you offer a ticket at – the competition is there with more to offer and deeper pockets and an averaged load factor across a network to smooth out the wins (full aircraft) and losses (half full aircraft). By the time you’ve done the maths and explained it to your potential investors, the atmosphere in the board room is grim. If you are brave and determined you will need to field the next line of questions.

So what class of money are we looking at here to get started?
Minimum fare structure to stay in the game?
Direct operating costs?
Operating budgets?

To name but a few of the ever upwardly spirally money numbers needed just to get the game kicked off. All up it is a massive investment, huge, to perhaps break even – with luck.  

Perhaps the philanthropists are determined and waive the massive start up operational costs aside – quite prepared to write that money off. The next question will be along the lines of – “when can we get going?”. If you are honest – you’d perhaps point out the costs and hurdles associated with getting an aircraft into the air – and keeping it there. The direct cost of obtaining Australian Air Operators Certification (AOC) borders on lunacy, maintaining ‘compliance’ with the regulations is truly scary and the attempt to do so can land you in jail – quick as a wink, even if you tread carefully. All of this before the competition gets the ‘irrits’ and simply price you out of the market.

I have a great deal of sympathy with those who dwell in FNQ or indeed any of the remote centres. The commercial realities of air operations, as applied to the cost of providing any air service is a very real number ; the investments significant and outfits, like Qantas, are expected, despite all the problems (challenges; if you must) to make a return on that investment. The big ‘bad’ is that even if the ‘cost of providing service’ was reduced, fares will not become appreciably cheaper, the profits will simply be higher. In the USA and Europe there is competition which keeps fares down a little – but there are a hell of a lot more people there:- 8.77 million in London alone: 8.53 million in New York: 3.97 in LA: 3.5 million in Berlin: Mount Isa - 21 thousand, nine hundred and ninety eight 21, 998 including the town drunk and his dog. When you work out the numbers in terms of how many passengers can I expect on any given day to use my air service, you’ll admit it’s the skinny end of break even, two bad days a month and you’re on the brink of extinction. Even if you doubled that number with itinerant visitors – its still a bleak financial prospect.

They say supply and demand is a key element of a free market, that and competition. Although what folk expect the government to do about that is beyond thinking. Even if the government demanded to know the true cost of the daily services provided to rural and regional destinations they would probably end up providing supplementary money to the airlines – just to keep the service running.

It costs a whole boatload of real money to get an aircraft into the air; perhaps the government could think about doing their bit and reducing the fiscal burden of compliance with ‘the law’ by reforming the rule set to relieve that burden. It is the least they could do; and the best they could do. Will they do it? Unless you can hold your breath for another thirty years don’t bet on them doing it.

My apologies to the purists – and those with axes to grind queuing at the grindstone – but we have just invested enough money in a Senate tour of FNQ to define the air service problems and I, for one, would like to see a return on that investment – soon. Hence my little Monday ramble. Now, where did I leave my knitting?

Toot toot.
REX treads the light fantastic on regional air route bullshit-itis... Dodgy   

Via the INDAILY:

Quote:ADELAIDE Tuesday May 15, 2018
Govt scrambles for answers after defiant Rex cuts SA flights

The Marshall Government is seeking an urgent explanation from Rex Airlines, the provider of the state’s only air service between Adelaide and Mount Gambier, after its extraordinary move to scale back flights after "unfair" complaints about the service.

[Image: tom-160x160.jpg]Tom Richardson

[Image: 20150828001170988110-original-850x455.jpg]

South-East locals have long griped about scheduling disruptions and high prices for flights to and from Adelaide, with recent submissions to a Senate inquiry into the operation, regulation and funding of air services to rural, regional and remote communities highlighting concerns over delays to medical treatment, including late diagnoses of possibly life-threatening medical conditions.

But Rex responded in extraordinary fashion last night, issuing a lengthy statement to local media outlets highlighting ongoing issues with a “crippling pilot shortage” and defending the monopoly model for regional routes, before declaring: “Given the amount of unfair criticisms levelled at Rex by local officials, Rex has decided to scale back its services between Mt Gambier and Adelaide to better utilise the very scarce resources.”

It said details of the changes “will be announced shortly”.

State Regional Development Minister Tim Whetstone said this morning the statement appeared “odd” and that he was “trying to put a call in to their government relations people to find out exactly what they’re basing this on”.

“I want to know what the justification is to reduce any regional airline service,” he told InDaily.
“If it’s for the sake of spitting the dummy, that’s hardly acceptable.

“I don’t know whether it comes off the back of the Senate inquiry… is it a commercial decision or is it an agenda item that will streamline regional operations? I guess that’s the first thing I’d want to be asking.”

Independent Mount Gambier MP Troy Bell said it was “disappointing Rex have made this decision in the manner that they have”.

Bell’s ongoing differences with Rex saw the airline effectively ban him from all its flights last year with a corporate communications executive writing to him in December in response to a meeting request.

“As you had already taken the prior decision to boycott our services without first finding all the facts from us, we do not believe that a meeting now would be useful under these circumstances,” the email said.

“We have under separate mail written to you to inform you that your desire to boycott the airline has now been registered in our system.”

However, Bell was diplomatic today, as locals fear further cutbacks of air services in and out of the state’s second biggest city.

“I want to work with Rex and their team to look at the issues that are being raised and what avenues we have to address those,” Bell said.

He argued there were ongoing issues over the services’ reliability and price “and I think there are ways we can address that and work with the community”.

“It would be a tragedy for our community if we lost our airline service,” he said.

Federal MP for Barker Tony Pasin said he had “reached out to Regional Express” whose board includes former Nationals MP John Sharp.

“I’m going to go to Sydney and meet with their board in June to talk to them about the predicament our community is in and the need to have improvement in the relationship between the community and the company,” Pasin said.

A submission to the Senate inquiry from the Mount Gambier and District Health Advisory Council and subsequent reporting in local media appear to have instigated the company’s response.
The submission noted ongoing concerns around “the unreliability of flight schedules and the high cost of fares and how these factors contributed to the attraction and retention of staff at Mount Gambier & Districts Health Service”.

“There have been medical doctor staffing problems at MGDHS associated with disruption to flight schedules on a number of occasions with changing of flight times and cancellation of flights to Mount Gambier,” the submission said.

“There has been ongoing discussion for a number of years between local media, politicians, local councils and community members relating to the problems that people have experienced when they have had rescheduling or cancellation of flights from Mt Gambier to Adelaide and Melbourne and the return flights to Mt Gambier.

“It is well known that the price of fares has risen considerably since Rex has been the sole airline servicing the Mt Gambier population.”

The council’s presiding member, Maureen Klintberg, said today the inquiry “gave us the opportunity to note concerns and issues that relate to the provision of health care and outcomes in the region”.

“It’s a disappointing response from the airline,” she said.

Rex’s statement said that “as an airline solely dedicated to the provision of regional air services to 60 ports across all states of Australia, Rex understands that it is never pleasant to have travel plans disrupted”.

“However [the] local Mt Gambier community needs to understand that Mt Gambier cannot be sheltered from a phenomenon that affects all regional ports in Australia… we believe that we have been very unfairly criticised for an outcome that has been caused by the lack of foresight and commitment by both Qantas and Virgin Australia to responsibly manage the pilot demand.

“They simply resort to pillaging the stock of regional pilots whenever they face a crunch and Rex gets the brunt of it as our pilots are one of the best trained.”

The airline said it was “undeniably the best regional carrier in Australia with its network average fare rising by only 1.1 per cent per year over the past 15 years and with its reliability being consistently one of the best – even during challenging periods like what we are experiencing right now”.

“In spite of this, local officials continue to target Rex whenever they feel the need for political grandstanding,” it said.

InDaily has sought further comment from the airline about the exact nature of its threatened service cuts.

MTF...P2  Cool
As the bubbles burst.

Finally; the turgid, foetid bubble of foul smelling gas, trapped deep within the swamps of Sleepy Hollow is rising to the surface. Both passengers and politicians waiting in terminals around the country notice the stench as the 11Am service from Piddlemore to Big Smoke fails to turn up and the sweet young thing behind the counter says “Sorry folks – your flight has been cancelled” then races back behind the security door before the message is fully understood. It is then the passengers start looking for the company telephone number and kick up a fuss.

Not one of the shiny brochures or flash magazines claiming all manner of ‘care’ for the stranded passengers will abate the anger – not even for the first time it happens, let alone the fourth time in a month. People get really pissed off when an air service fails to materialize. That is when they start ringing the local politician.

Rex airlines is copping a fair bit of flack at the moment – the good folk of Mt Gambier and Canberra are hacked off, playing merry hell about cancelled flights etc. and want something done, now - now. This of course galvanizes (gooses) the local MP and the Pooh starts hitting the Rex front door. It ain’t Rex’s fault of course, but nonetheless it is the airline which will cop the drubbing. Not fair folks – nowhere near fair at all.

An outfit like Rex is as much a victim of ‘system’ as the irate passengers and to imagine that Rex would deliberately set out to sully their good name, piss passengers off and enjoy loosing the revenue a flight produces is just nuts. The company is suffering due to their willingness to comply with some of the most ridicules rule sets ever written. I shall try to explain it, bear with me, it ain’t simple.

At the beginning of a long chain is the certification required to operate scheduled air services. Any proposed air service operation is subject to an incredibly expensive, complex, time consuming process. Thousands of legally binding pages must be produced, covering everything from paper clip distribution to the onerous responsibility placed on the CEO. In order to gain ‘operational approval’ and begin services; many compromises must be reached and, under the pressure of time and money – the company accept changes to their proposed system and procedures, for no other reasons than expediency and gaining that approval before everyone goes mad. They go along to get along – no option – it’s just the way things are. Once the certification is gained – the next hurdle is keeping it. No easy task – serious amounts of money are invested in not only ‘compliance’ but in being seen to be compliant. In short, by pandering to the whims and dictates of the local CASA office, a company ends up with a huge, complex operating ‘manual’, supporting all manner of trivia, which must be complied with – or else…

This becomes apparent a company needs to recruit aircrew – the sheer cost - which the passenger fare structure must pay for – of clearing a new pilot to line is a big number to begin with – before all the ancillary whistles, bells and gold plating are added. The infrastructure required to place a pilot in the cockpit is not only large, but it costs money, real money to support. In the real world CASA would be told to go and boil their bottoms and take their self opinionated clap-trap with them. Not in Australia though; the mandatory requirement to Kow-Tow to the CASA ‘expert’ rules supreme. Everyone bitches and moans about the imposts – but no one dare speak. They all just plod through the system – as approved – knowing full well that to even bark about it will bring the wrath of the CASA demi-gods (recruited from local flying schools) down around their corporate ears.

Even so, they struggle through – until one day an outfit like Qantas or Virgin decide they need more crew. The AUD$70, 000 it has cost Rex to put a pilot on the flight line is written off to experience with one phone call: “Start on Monday” says the Qantas HR lady and poof – a Rex pilot vanishes. Can’t blame the pilot, it’s a career dream come true: Saab to Bathurst or 777 to LA – no brainer. Which puts poor old Rex in a spot – what to do? They are now not only facing the horrendous costs of ‘compliance’, hidebound by the system they had to have, they must now dig deep and train another pilot. And so it goes, until the point where there ain’t any more pilots and flights must be cancelled. Strict flight and duty rules prevent ‘over time’, long winded check and training systems cannot provide fresh bodies to the system in time and ties up line pilot availability in C&T duties. This is where the inflexible, narrow view of the regulations really bites deep, at the coal face.

Some folk are jumping up and down about the lack of flight schools and the demise of many of these establishments and it is true that the regulations have forced many to close down. It is fair beef and a simple enough case for politicians to understand, hell they may even get something done about it – in time. But it will be way to little and a decade late. The problem is here – now and very, very real. It is but the visible tip of a huge, CASA generated iceberg. Never before has there been such a demand for pilot training, flying schools are flat out everywhere – except Australia – trying to meet the demand. By the time Australia catches up – the bubble will have burst and the revenue gone overseas. Great stuff and well done successive governments who have not only abrogated responsibility but rubber stamped this complete cock into existence and spent upwards of 400 000, 000 over three decades to produce it. All in the name of ‘safety’.

The cost of compliance with the current rule set is the radical cause of passengers left stranded in Mt Gambier – not Rex Airlines; they do the best they can, with what they’ve got and what they are saddled with. The government could turn this all around within 18 months; the big question is will they?

Gentlemen, the grand experiment has failed; time to bring in a rule set which allows aviation to flourish. New Zealand is a mere two thousand miles and many light years away; ask ‘em nicely, they may give us their rule set – if not the Bledisloe Cup.

Toot toot.

Airports face big bills getting rid of banned foams. The Kiwi’s continue their march toward becoming ‘PFOS free’;

And a update from The land of Trump;

Quote:Row over water contamination in US has NZ implications

11:04 am on 17 May 2018

[Image: thumb_Phil_Pennington.jpg?1467162888]
Phil Pennington, Reporter

A furore has erupted in the US over the Trump administration heading off a water contamination study that has implications for New Zealand.

[Image: eight_col_foam.jpg?1512763610]Firefighting foam (file photo) Photo: 123RF

The study concludes that firefighting foam chemicals pose a danger to human health at far lower concentrations than the current official safety levels in the US, Australia and New Zealand.

"The public, media, and Congressional reaction to these numbers is going to be huge," one White House aide said, in emails obtained by Washington DC news site Politico.

"The impact to EPA and [the Defense Department] is going to be extremely painful."

The aide added the federal public health agency that did the study did not seem to realise "the potential public relations nightmare this is going to be".

US President Donald Trump's Democrat opponents are now demanding the White House release the study, which had been due out in January.

The US is grappling with a spreading water contamination crisis from firefighting foam, and other sources such as Teflon, of the harmful and long-lasting PFAS range of chemicals which includes PFOS, PFOA and PFHxS.

Australia, and now New Zealand, are in much the same boat, with extensive tests going on of water sources around defence bases and airports.

"The emails make no mention of public health effects," Politico reporter Annie Snider, who broke the story, told RNZ.

"That's the reason this has got so much traction. This seems to be all about the Defence Department in terms of liability and on EPA in terms of culpability for having had a higher risk level before."

The US risk level in a health advisory for PFOS and PFOA was drastically lowered in 2016 to 70 parts per trillion, total, in drinking water - like 70 grains of sand in an Olympic swimming pool.

Australia and New Zealand adopted this same level last year.

But exposure at just one-sixth this level could be dangerous for sensitive individuals like infants and breastfeeding mothers, according to the Politico emails about the new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It suggests dropping the health risk level to 12 parts per trillion.

Ms Snider said even some Republicans were now speaking up.

"We know for sure that the Trump administration did weigh in with concerns about it.
"This is not an issue that has been acted swiftly on by any of our regulatory agencies and, to be fair, a lot of the science is still being worked on.

"We have multi-trillion-dollar needs for upgrades to drinking water and wastewater infrastructure and so there is, I think, legitimately some concern about adding an expense to that."

There is infuriation about PFAS and health closer to home, in response to an expert health panel's new advice to both the Australian and New Zealand governments.

It concluded there was still no evidence the chemicals damaged people's health, though that could not be ruled out either.


"My community in Williamtown are outraged," New South Wales federal MP Meryl Swanson told RNZ. "They're possibly some of the most informed about this suite of chemicals."

Williamtown is one of the three worst contaminated towns so far identified in Australia's investigation of PFAS chemical leaching.

The expert panel had played down the health risks and discounted any need for interventions based on limited research, she said.

"I don't think that's prudent, I don't agree with that. Some of that research, I understand, has been done by industry groups and I'm not completely satisfied that the health panel's findings are extensive as they need to be.

"Do we need a new panel that does a new report? Potentially," she said.

Two of the 12 reviews the Australian panel looked at were by Dr Ellen Chang who works for a US firm called Exponent.

A US lawyer Robert Bilott who has led successful lawsuits against PFAS contaminators, told RNZ that Exponent had provided paid testifying services to at least one PFAS manufacturer facing court action.

The Australian panel also looked at eight international reports in preparing its advice.

Cheers Bro

P2 - top catch Bro... Wink
PFOS in Parliament and Hobart flight path cock-up - TICK TOCK Harfwit... Confused   

To follow on from Gobbles last, here is the Additional Estimates QON answers related to the PFOS issue:


Nearly every other day when Parliament sits there is a growing chorus of concern for the PFOS issue with the ducking and weaving by the Turnbull government becoming extremely tedious and obvious... Dodgy


Defence Facilities: Chemical Contamination

[Image: 264170.jpg]Ms SWANSON (Paterson) (10:06): I stand here today to register on the parliamentary record my utter disgust with the Turnbull government's continued treatment of my constituents trapped in a toxic PFAS plume emanating from RAAF Base Williamtown. I'm here to ensure that Hansard records my reaction to the long-awaited Expert Health Panel for PFAS report that was delivered to Health Minister Hunt. I wish this House to note that I am angered at the timing of the report's release and the method of its release. And I am gravely concerned by the content of the report itself.

The government chose to release this 400-plus-page report on the eve of the federal budget—a full two months late—by sending it live to an obscure website.

The minister did not stand up to take questions. It was an abomination.

The expert panel's report summary does nothing to answer the questions or allay the fears of my constituents in Williamtown, Fullerton Cove or Salt Ash. In fact, it inflames their distrust. At the top of page 1, the summary advises:

… important health effects for individuals exposed to PFAS cannot be ruled out based on the current evidence.

Later it states:

… evidence does not support any specific biochemical or disease screening, or health interventions, for highly exposed groups (except for research purposes).
Yet, this very report says:

The main concerning signal for life-threatening human disease is an association with an increased risk of two uncommon cancers (testicular and kidney).

This echoes investigative journalism by the Newcastle Heraldwhichrevealed a 50-person cancer cluster along a four-kilometre stretch of rural road at the heart of the PFAS plume. The expert panel's assessment itself acknowledged that there is a relationship between PFAS exposure and some indicators of immune response.

This demands an exhaustive study of any relationship between immune dysfunction and cancer. The generations of families who have been struck down with obscure, environmentally-induced malignant conditions demand this. Walkley-Award-winning investigative journalism demands it. The Turnbull and Berejiklian governments must exhaustively explore this evidence. The Department of Defence must be called to account for the damage it has caused. (Time expired)

[Image: 10848.jpg]Brian Burston (NSW, Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party) Share this | Link to this | Hansard source
Recently, the New South Wales state government, through New South Wales Health, conducted a study into whether a cancer cluster existed in the Williamtown area as a result of PFAS contamination. The study dismissed suggestions that a cancer cluster existed on a heavily contaminated area of Cabbage Tree Road. Over the last 15 years, 50 cancer cases have occurred over a five-kilometre stretch on that road. The results of the study are totally unreliable and lack objectivity. Areas such as Medowie and Karuah were included in the study despite being some 30 kilometres from the red zone. This brought into the study 12,000 residents not affected by the contamination, and it only looked at cancer incidents between 2005 and 2014.

I have continued to ask questions of the government in relation to compensation for residents affected by this contamination. The standard answer from the government is: 'There is currently no consistent evidence that exposure to PFAS causes adverse human health effects.' The government says it relies on the advice of eHealth when making decisions on this issue.

On 19 March 2018 the Newcastle Herald reported, and I quote the article in part:

A leading group of Australian doctors has slammed federal health advice on the chemicals at the centre of the Williamtown scandal, arguing the government's position is "highly problematic", "confusing" and doesn't provide a complete picture of the international evidence.

The Department of Health's advice – stating there is "no consistent evidence that exposure to PFAS causes adverse human health effects" – has long been condemned by residents of the red zone, who argue it contradicts warnings from world-leading agencies, including the US EPA.

However this is the first time Australia's medical fraternity has publicly weighed into the debate.

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) trains and represents over 25,000 medical and trainee specialists across Australia and New Zealand.
In its submission to a newly-formed Expert Health Panel on … (PFAS) chemicals, the RACP argues for a national ban on firefighting foam and says Australia should have ratified a global agreement made nearly a decade ago to phase out the contaminants. The document is scathing of the government's health advice, based on guidance statements from the Environmental Health Standing Committee (EnHealth).
…   …   …
"We advocate for a change to the national health advice that incorporates the latest international evidence for adverse health effects."
…   …   …
"We were really slow at getting the government to ban asbestos and now we’ve done the same thing with PFAS" …
"We're conflict avoidant."

The RACP advocates for a change to the national health advice that incorporates the latest international evidence for adverse health effects. That evidence is available through the US EPA, the German Human Biomonitoring Commission, Public Health England and the United Nations Stockholm Convention, which all link exposure to PFAS with adverse health effects.

What more evidence do the government need? Well, I'll give them some more. I will now name 32 of the 50 cancer-cluster victims, as published in the Newcastle Herald of 16 February 2018: Warren Monro, prostate cancer; Jenny Robinson, breast cancer; Terry Robinson, melanoma; Gaylene Brown, breast cancer; John Hill, non-Hodgkin lymphoma; Lex 'Tex' Facer, deceased 2005, bowel cancer; Boronia Howell, deceased 2003, leukaemia; Ted Howell Snr, deceased 2004, prostate cancer; Ted Howell Jr, prostate cancer; Greg Waters, leukaemia; Gary Price, prostate cancer; Karen Price, breast cancer; Eric Moxey, deceased 2004, pancreatic cancer; Irene Jordan, breast cancer; Luke Gordan, neck tumours; Lorelei Sneddon, deceased 2011, non-Hodgkin lymphoma; Liane Ryan, breast cancer; Michelle Gilchrist, leukaemia; Colin Northam, deceased 2004, liver cancer; Suzanne Quick, non-Hodgkin lymphoma; Raeleen Russell, breast cancer; Neville Haywood, oesophageal cancer; Danielle Proctor, non-Hodgkin lymphoma; David Vial, prostate cancer; David Gordon, deceased 2015, prostate cancer; Judy Gordon, breast cancer; Denis McEnearney, prostate cancer and leukaemia; Craig Coombes, vocal cord tumour and thyroid cancer; Ken Graham, deceased 2012, prostate cancer; Patricia Olsen, lung cancer; Terry Olsen, deceased 2015, prostate cancer; Des Maslen, skin cancer.
Do you want more evidence? Sorry, but I've run out of time. So has the government.

On the ASA Hobart flight path cock-up in the Oz today:

Quote:Safety issue on new flight paths
[Image: bf6bf63e7aa8e1b0b83d027bfdb4bc64]MATTHEW DENHOLM
The bungled introduction of new flightpaths at Hobart’s burgeoning airport has led to a dramatic spike in safety breaches.

The bungled introduction of new flight paths at Hobart’s burgeoning airport has led to a dramatic spike in safety breaches, including “loss of separation” between ­passenger jets.

Airservices reports obtained by The Weekend Australian suggest the new, inflexible flight paths, introduced on September 14 last year, have been poorly implemented, prompting a sudden rise in safety incidents.

There have been at least four “loss of separation” incidents, where aircraft pass closer to one another than has been designed for safety, typically 305m for passenger jets, since September.

At least two — on December 30 last year and January 18 this year — were linked to difficulties complying with the new flight paths, which limit departures and arrivals from Hobart airport to standardised routes.

Both involved Airbus A320 and A321 passenger planes, likely to be carrying about 180 and 240 ­passengers respectively.

“The Airbus A320 … climbed above the restricted level, resulting in a loss of separation with the inbound Airbus A321,” a report of the January 18 incident reads.

On December 30, an Airbus A321 “descended below the altitude restriction resulting in a loss of separation with the outbound Airbus A320”.

On November 13, an inbound Boeing 717 “failed to meet the height requirements … resulting in a loss of separation assurance with the outbound Airbus A320”.

Records confirm these breaches related directly to problems with the new flight paths, which have antagonised communities hit by aircraft noise, as well as air traffic controllers inadequately trained and supported to implement them, and pilots and airlines experiencing difficulties and extra fuel costs in complying.

There have been at least 22 safety incidents related to failures to comply with the new routes.

The Airservices review of its implementation of the flight paths concludes the objectives of greater efficiency and safety have been undermined by failings.

The report says “the expected assistance and support to controllers” was not provided and those charged with developing and ­implementing changes “may or may not” have had “necessary skills and experience”.

Methods of separating aircraft “developed over many years” were removed, leaving “very few options” for controllers dealing with aircraft not equipped to use standardised flight paths.

The report finds a “lack of clarity” between the Hobart tower and Melbourne-based controllers and that sections of the industry were unsure about how to comply.

“Setbacks that could have been anticipated were overlooked and not dealt with in the most efficient manner,” it says. The review says that changes such as reactivating a ground beacon and introducing a second departure route should return risks to “an acceptable level”.

Airservices yesterday insisted the new system was safe and ­designed to “international standards”, despite “a small number of occurrences … common during the early stages of introducing new flight paths”.

“(The new flight paths) are safer because they ensure that aircraft fly predictably and consistently, and safely guide aircraft even during bad weather, reducing pilot and air traffic controller workload,” a spokeswoman said.

“There has been thorough training and awareness for both pilots and air traffic controllers.”

 There was also an interesting Add Estimates AQON (with pictures - Smile ) on the Hobart flight path issue: See QON58.pdf 

[Image: Hobart-flightpath.jpg]

MTF...P2 Cool
Tick tock goes the ASA PFAS clock -  Confused

Via the ABC News:

Quote:Melbourne Airport confirms toxic PFAS chemical spread in water beyond site boundaries
By Sally Brooks and Gus Goswell
Updated 26 minutes ago
[Image: 2563398-3x2-700x467.jpg]PHOTO: Melbourne Airport authorities say the risk posed to landholders downstream of the site is low. (Supplied: Melbourne Airport)
RELATED STORY: 'Limited or no evidence': PFAS report finds no strong link to human health
RELATED STORY: PFAS chemicals at 'exceedingly high' levels in some Katherine residents, doctor says

Melbourne Airport has confirmed contamination caused by toxic chemicals, historically used in firefighting foams at the site, has spread beyond the airport boundaries.

In a statement to the ABC, airport spokesman Grant Smith said the Melbourne Airport Authority (MAA) was contacting a group of landholders to inform them of the contamination.

The MAA will also ask residents and landholders whether they use the surface water flowing through local waterways on their properties.

Mr Smith said the authority believed the health risk posed by the chemical contamination to landholders downstream of the site was low.

Do you know more about this story? Email

"At some times of the year, some of our off-airport testing locations recorded per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) levels in surface water above the current Australian Government guidelines," he said.

"We've conducted a number of detailed risk assessments that indicate any likelihood of human health impact by PFAS contamination for landholders downstream from the airport is low, on the basis that local water courses are not connected to Melbourne's drinking water catchment.

"We're currently in the process of getting in touch with individual landholders to talk to them about our research findings, and how they're using water on their properties."

[Image: 9817738-3x2-700x467.jpg]PHOTO: Melbourne Airport is located between two waterways; the Maribyrnong River and Moonee Ponds Creek. (ABC News)

Melbourne Airport confirmed to the ABC it has been undertaking an extensive investigation into the presence of PFAS across the airport estate.

This included collecting more than 800 soil samples.

Based on current information available to the ABC it is unclear how far this contamination has spread. The ABC does not have any evidence that private properties have been contaminated.

The airport, working with other stakeholders, are continuing investigations.
Health impacts of chemicals uncertain

Melbourne Airport at Tullamarine, roughly 20 kilometres north-west of the Melbourne city centre, sits between two north-south flowing rivers: Maribyrnong River to the west and Moonee Ponds Creek to the east.

PFAS chemicals accumulate over time and the health effects of exposure to the chemicals is a matter of dispute.

[Image: 6992900-3x2-700x467.jpg]PHOTO: Toxic chemicals from firefighting foam have been detected in waterways around Australia. (Supplied: CRC CARE)

In the United States, a major epidemiological study linked one of the group of PFAS chemicals to six human diseases, including two types of cancer.

The Australian Government maintains there is limited evidence of links between the chemicals and disease, but notes health effects cannot not be ruled out based on the current facts.

In October last year the ABC confirmed PFAS chemicals have been detected at more than 70 sites across the country, including Defence bases, civilian and aviation firefighting facilities, and at industrial sites like Esso Australia's gas plant in Longford in Victoria's south east.

There is a growing list of sites where these chemicals have spread off site and contaminated surrounding waterways, land, and in some cases the food chain, including livestock.

On Wednesday, it was confirmed that a federal parliamentary inquiry will examine the Government's management of PFAS contamination at and around Defence bases.

Toxic foam used at airport training ground, reports show

The ABC pursued an investigation into contamination at Melbourne Airport after former and current aviation firefighters raised concerns about the amount of the toxic, aqueous-film forming firefighting foam (AFFF) used in the past, at the Melbourne Aviation Rescue and Firefighting Services' old training ground at the airport.

[Image: 9817676-3x2-700x467.jpg]PHOTO: A federal parliamentary inquiry will examine the management of PFAS contamination. (Supplied)

That drill ground, which sits on the north-west corner of the airport, was home to a national training college for aviation firefighters across Australia from 1972 to 1998.

Reports obtained by the ABC via Freedom of Information show toxic foam was used at that site for about two decades.

Airservices Australia, the federal government agency responsible for the aviation firefighting service at Melbourne Airport, has been investigating current levels of PFAS contamination at that site.

The ABC understands that training ground is just one of several locations around the airport where the toxic foam has been used.

Airservices stopped using the AFFF toxic foam at all sites in the early 2000s. The national training college has since moved to a new facility adjacent to the airport, and a different foam is used.

[Image: 9817682-3x2-700x467.jpg]PHOTO: The national training college for aviation firefighters has moved to a new facility adjacent to the airport. (Supplied)

In March, Airservices said the facility "features environmental control systems designed to minimise the impact of the training activity on the surrounding environment and operates with only PFAS-free training foam".

"At Melbourne Airport, we have recently completed a preliminary site investigation (PSI) and we are currently undertaking quality assurance to finalise the PSI report," an Airservices spokesman said.

"We anticipate the report to be released publicly in coming months.

"We will also consult relevant stakeholders, including Melbourne Airport, the Commonwealth Airport Regulator and relevant state government agencies to determine what appropriate action is required."
Contamination found in routine testing, airport says

The Melbourne Airport is on Commonwealth land, and ultimately regulated by the Federal Government. The MAA describes itself as the "landlord" of the property and Airservices, along with airlines and other agencies, as tenants of the airport.

Melbourne Airport said the off-site tests for PFAS were part of routine water testing and it had not done a "bespoke" PFAS investigation in off-airport waterways.

It has notified several stakeholders including Victoria's Environment Protection Authority (EPA) of the preliminary findings.

"For the most part, contamination exists within areas leased by tenants, so we are working with each of those tenants on their plans," Mr Smith said.

[Image: 9817706-3x2-700x467.jpg]PHOTO: Toxic foam is no longer used by firefighters at airports. (Supplied)

Melbourne Airport confirmed it has been undertaking clean-up activities on the site, which includes digging up contaminated soil.

"From an estate-wide perspective our focus is on tackling the challenge of stopping identified pollution from leaving the airport through surface water or ground water," Mr Smith said.

"As an interim solution we have been removing contaminated soil and containing it … but we are also looking at long term containment and treatment of contaminated soil."

In November last year, Guardian Australia reported that the Brisbane Airport Corporation was suing Airservices Australia over the PFAS contamination at Brisbane Airport.

While on the land of unscrupulous Harfwits and obfuscating fairytales -  Rolleyes 

In case you missed it off the SBG get a load of the brown nosing Harfwit attempt to schmoo the Chief of Airforce Air Marshal Davies:

  [Image: harfieldatestimates.jpg]

Mr Jason Harfield, Airservices Australia
FOI letter from Airservices Australia to Air Marshal Davies
22 May 2018 - PDF 2104KB

Quote:[Image: OS-1.jpg]

[Image: OS-2.jpg]
[Image: OS-3.jpg]

Credit to Harfwit it must have worked cause the Defence Dept signed on the dotted line? One wonders what kind of GWE (Great White Elephant) we will eventually end up with after all the serious players have stopped grazing from the OneSKY trough... Dodgy

MTF...P2 Cool
Miniscule Mc’Do’nothing and Turnball have ‘testicle separation’.

Good old Hobart airspace issues continue. So, exactly why is it that CAsA want a $180m budget next year? Hmmmm, seems to me that the ‘risk’ is firmly embedded in the Regulators lap. I wouldn’t want to be in Wingnuts shoes if two passenger jets scrape paint above the city....tsk tsk

And, PFOS, it’s the risk that just keeps on giving. Obsfucating deceptive Pollywafflers. DEAR VOTER, DONT FORGET THIS BIT FROM MINISTER HUNT (spelt with a silent ‘C’);

“The government chose to release this 400-plus-page report on the eve of the federal budget—a full two months late—by sending it live to an obscure website”.


“The minister did not stand up to take questions. It was an abomination”.

Pathetic weasel. Sneaky sneaky dishonest grubs. It’s time for the Voter to send the LNP assclowns off to retirement - Hunt, Turdball, Mc’Do’nothing, Barnacle Joyce, Cash, the whole stinking putrid bunch of them.

‘Make Aviation Great Again’

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