Friday, 28 February 2014

Abbott Government makes a mockery of Southern Ocean air surveillance

This is what the Coalition parties promised.

Media Release announcing the Coalition Whale and Dolphin Protection Plan on  23 August 2013 during the federal election campaign:

Snapshot taken 22 December 2013

This is what the Abbott Government said it would put in place instead.

ABC News 22 December 2013:

The Federal Government will send a plane to the Southern Ocean in an effort to step up its monitoring of Japanese whaling fleets early next year. Customs will send an A319 during the whaling season, which begins in January and ends in March.

While this is what it actually delivered – one flyover in an aircraft with a limited flight range and unsuitable for surveillance tasks.

Excerpt from evidence given to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee during Senate Estimates, 26 February 2014:

Senator WHISH-WILSON: I was actually going to ask about the P-3Cs under section 1.4, but could I just ask now whether they would have better capacity than the current airbus that is being used by customs to monitor the Japanese whaling fleet and the illegal whaling activity in the southern ocean.

Gen. Hurley : I will get someone who knows more about planes than I do to address that.

Air Marshal Brown : If you are looking at the whaling fleet specifically as the surveillance task, one of the problems is that they are very far south, right off the coast of Antarctica, and a P3 cannot get there. The A319 is not suitable for that task. It is used for the Antarctic division to supply into Antarctica. The recent announcement of the P8 will certainly give us the capability to get down there because it is air-to-air refuelable, which the P3 is not....

Senator WHISH-WILSON: The reason I asked about the airbus is that it has been used this whaling season for surveillance of the Japanese fleet, but I understand there has only been one flyover at a fairly significant cost to the taxpayer. I was just wondering whether you had been consulted on the use of other aircraft, and clearly you have.

Air Marshal Brown : We have. We have had a look at C-17s and all of our fleet at the moment as to whether they are suitable. The word surveillance can mean many things—surveillance out of a passenger aeroplane is a pretty limited operation.

1 comment:

John Fraser said...


Clarence River readers should be keeping a watchful eye on this :

And keeping people informed .... far and wide.