Former Australian Pilot Training Alliance (APTA) CEO Glen Buckley has formalised his allegations of misfeasance against CASA managers and in the process called for an independent investigation into his claims.
Buckley leveled the accusations in his testimony to the senate inquiry into the general aviation industry in November, allegations which CASA later rejected stating that Buckley had presented no evidence.
In a letter sent to CASA Chair Tony Mathews and copied to Senator Susan McDonald on Monday, Buckley added detail to his claims before raising the idea of an independent investigation.
"When presented with options, those CASA personnel would choose the option that was more likely to cause harm to me and my business, when a less harmful option and the arguably more effective and safer option was available," Buckley declares in the letter.
"The actions and decisions of these CASA employees has caused harm to me and my family. It has caused mine and other businesses to close, and employees to lose their livelihoods. The detriment caused is significant and extends to many millions of dollars. These actions and decisions were deliberate and calculated, and the CASA employees were fully aware of the commercial and reputational impact that would, and did, result.
"Together they have made decisions that demonstrably reduce aviation safety. Each of the entities that were removed from APTA now have access to a significantly less resourced safety department, they have lost access to group expertise, and the sharing of group information to draw on a larger data pool and enhance safety outcomes.
"I am able to prepare a comprehensive safety case supporting my contentions. I note that CASA has been unable to provide any supporting safety case for their actions, which would normally have been part of their preparatory work."
Phase One of an ombudsman's inquiry released in August 2020 concluded that CASA had dealt with APTA in a way that had the potential to cause detriment. Phase Two, which is still in process, deals with CASA's informing Buckley's new employer that his role was "untenable" due to comments Buckley was making publicly.
Despite the ongoing ombudsman investigation, Buckley believes that another investigation into his misfeasance claims is needed.
"I request that CASA, or preferably the Deputy Prime Minister, appoint someone who is independent and unbiased to conduct an investigation into the alleged misconduct of the named employees. The purpose of that investigation would be to ascertain the lawfulness of the actions and decisions made by these individuals, and the intent."
Originally, the three named were CASA Director of Aviation Safety and CEO Shane Carmody, Executive Manager of the Aviation Group Graeme Crawford and Executive Manager of Legal, International, and Regulatory Affairs Jonathan Aleck.
With Carmody no longer at CASA, Buckley appears to have dropped the allegations against him, but maintained accusations against Crawford and Aleck, and raising new misfeasance claims against Executive Manager of Regulatory Services and Surveillance Craig Martin.
"Rather than seeking to punish any employee, I believe an investigation will provide the individuals I raise allegations against with the opportunity to defend their conduct and this process will protect the integrity of CASA and maintain public and industry confidence in the reputation of CASA," Buckley said. "As Australia’s aviation safety regulator, this must be an important consideration.
"My hope is that an investigation would proceed with as little formality and as much expedition as proper consideration of this matter allows. This matter has continued for over two years, and it is time now to bring both transparency and resolution to the process.
"I’m sure that the CASA Board will also appreciate the opportunity to bring good governance to the matter in as short a timeline as practical.
"By making these substantive allegations, it may have an adverse effect on the nominated employees’ ability to carry out their duties, and on the workplace in general. I appreciate that the CASA Board, and Mr Anthony Mathews in his role as the Chair of the Board, in consultation with the Deputy Prime Minister, will have to consider whether it is appropriate to stand these personnel aside on full pay pending an investigation, which I believe appropriate and reasonable in the circumstances."
Graeme Crawford is currently the Acting Director of Aviation Safety and CEO whilst the CASA board searches for a replacement for Shane Carmody.
CASA has been contacted for comment.