• South Australia's Senator Rex Patrick has been actively advocating for GA in parliament. (still from Parliament House feed)
    South Australia's Senator Rex Patrick has been actively advocating for GA in parliament. (still from Parliament House feed)

Senator Rex Patrick will deliver an address to the general aviation industry ahead of the Federal Election in May.

Speaking at the AOPA Australia headquarters at Bankstown Airport on Sunday 1 May, Senator Patrick's Mayday address will detail the issues that need to be overcome to revitalise the GA industry in Australia and propose solutions.

"General aviation is in crisis and is but a shadow of the aviation industry it once was," he said in announcing the event. "The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is largely responsible for what has been a death by a thousand cuts.

"Over the past 20 years the Parliament has held inquiry after inquiry, with the feedback from industry remaining consistent throughout.

"Despite the unified pleas for change, CASA have wrought havoc on the aviation industry, forcing a never-ending parade of regulatory change that has destroyed businesses, reduced industry competitiveness, and dramatically undermined the sustainability of small to medium sized aviation."

Senator Patrick is a member of the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee (RRAT) and has been active in the RRAT's inquiry into the impacts of regulation on the GA industry, regularly positioning himself as a champion of GA revitalisation.

"The Parliament reacted to the decline when it passed the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill 2019," Patrick noted. "This Bill sought to ensure that in developing and promulgating aviation safety standards, CASA must consider the economic and cost impacts on individuals, businesses, and the community.

"Sadly, little seems to have changed."

In recent senate estimates hearing, Patrick and other senators have shown signs of losing patience with CASA, most notably in February when Patrick accused CASA CEO Pip Spence of answering questions with platitudes.

"The Parliamentary ‘nutcracker’ doesn’t seem to have cracked the over-regulation walnut, so it is now time to reach for the sledgehammer," Patrick says.

"Having worked tirelessly with industry and having watched things go from a cautionary PAN PAN to an outright emergency MAYDAY, I am ready to answer the call on Sunday 1st May, where I will propose a powerful sledgehammer that can be used to finally sort things out so that general aviation may recover and thrive."

AOPA Australia will host the Mayday event in their headquarters at 10 Stinson Crescent, Bankstown Airport starting at 1100 on 1 May.

Senator Patrick, who represents South Australia, is one of 36 senators seeking retain their seat at the 21 May Federal Election along with another GA advocate, WA's Senator Glenn Sterle.

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