Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

Primary content

A Bill for an Act to amend the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 to prevent interference with incident reports, and for related purposes
For authoritative information on the progress of bills and on amendments proposed to them, please see the House of Representatives Votes and Proceedings, and the Journals of the Senate as available on the Parliament House website.
Registered 05 Oct 2010
Introduced Senate 30 Sep 2010




































(Circulated by authority of Senator N Xenophon)





















On 21 July 2007, a Jetstar Airbus A320 was being flown from Christchurch to Melbourne.


However, upon its approach into a foggy Melbourne, the pilot in command did not perform the go-around procedure correctly and, in the process, the crew were unaware that the aircraft was continuing to descend. The aircraft came within 38 feet of the ground before anyone realised.


After re-climbing, the pilot then attempted to land a second time but this had to be diverted again due to the fog. The plane eventually landed safely at Avalon airport.


Upon their return to New Zealand, the crew reported the incident to the airline operator, who took five days before reporting the incident to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.


It was later revealed, however, that the internal report given to the ATSB by the operator excluded key information which led to the authority determining that a formal investigation was not required.


It was only after media reports some months later that the ATSB made further inquiries into the incident and determined that an investigation was required. Its report was highly critical.


Jetstar subsequently adopted Airbus’s standard procedures for go-arounds, and instigated a review of its third party training procedures.


Indeed, the 21st July incident may not have seen the light of day, had it not been for third parties coming forward with information.


Under the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003, 'responsible persons' (such as pilots and airline operators) are required to report all reportable matters to a 'nominated official' (such as the Australian Transport Safety Board) as soon as is reasonably practicable.


However, there are currently no penalties for altered reports being provided to aviation authorities.


This Bill seeks to remedy this, and to ensure all reports given to authorities about incidents are accurate and true to the events that occurred.


It provides that if a person improperly influences a 'responsible person' making a report, or penalises them for their report, that they face a penalty of 24 months imprisonment.


This Bill aims to ensure that all incidents are accurately reported and properly investigated so that safety measures can be reviewed, training processes addressed, protocols reviewed both for that airline in particular but also across the industry.


Indeed, without incidents being accurately reported, passenger safety has the potential to be compromised. This Bill is about maintaining the highest standards of aviation safety in Australia.


1.        Short Title

This clause is a formal provision and specifies the short title of Bill, once enacted, as the Transport Safety Investigation Amendment (Incident Reports) Act 2010.


2.        Commencement

This clause provides for the commencement of the Act the day after the Act receives the Royal Assent.


3.      Schedule(s)

This clause states that each Act specified in a Schedule to this Act is amended or repealed according to the provisions of this Act, according to its terms.



Schedule 1 – Amendment of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003

Part 1 of this Act adds a penalty of 24 months for any persons who improperly influence a 'responsible person' in their reporting of an incident to aviation authorities.


This may be an aircraft operator interfering with a pilots report, for example, or a co-pilot influencing a report from another crew member.


Under the current Act, there are no penalties for interference. This Act will amend this.


Part 2 of this Act states that it is an offence for a person to inflict any penalty upon a responsible person (for example, if they were to be withheld from promotion or have their hours reduced), as a result of that person submitting a report to aviation authorities about an incident.


The penalty for this is also 24 months imprisonment.