CATHY McGOWAN (Indi) (16:10): Charity organisation Angel Flight flies rural and regional patients and their families to vital medical appointments. For more than 10 years Angel Flight has carried out $50 million worth of mercy missions in isolated areas throughout Australia.
However, the Civil Aviation and Safety Administration [Authority] is proposing changes that will increase regulation and have a serious impact on this volunteer service.
These changes include setting up an organisation to be responsible for assessing and authorising Angel Flight pilots and requiring pilot proficiency tests and assessment. This will be costly and time-consuming.
The regulation is a duplication of what is already being completed by pilots volunteering within this organisation and the proposed changes would add red tape and compliance costs. These changes pose a real threat of forcing the closure of this valuable organisation to rural Australia.
Angel Flight plays an important role in my electorate of Indi. As an example, a gentleman from Mount Beauty regularly needs chemotherapy in Melbourne. Angel Flight ensures his travel time is minimised and he is able to spend as many of his last days as possible at home in Mount Beauty.
The financial impact of implementing more bureaucratic measures would be catastrophic for this volunteer based organisation. Angel Flight is totally dependent on private donations and receives no government funding.
I call on the CASA to reconsider this proposed change and find a way to ensure that Angel Flight can continue its important work.