Sunday, September 04, 2016

CPSU: Airservices Australia's "callous and wasteful"

Airservices Australia's approach to hiring consultants has been "callous and wasteful", according to its workplace unions.

Aviation industry figures were calling on Friday for "heads to roll" over the agency's lack of probity, cost control and its failure to get "value for money" from consultancies on the $1.5 billion One­SKY air traffic control system, revealed in a scathing National Audit Office report.

The consultancy rates were up to 30 per cent higher than the Defence Department was paying ICCPM, the auditors found, with one lucrative contract processed by a senior Airservices executive who was married to ICCPM's chief executive.

The probe by the ANAO looked into Airservices' use of a consultancy firm during its $1.5 billion OneSKY air traffic control and navigation project after a Senate committee alleged "dodgy dealings" with ICCPM.

Now Airservices is in the midst of sacking up to 1000 of its workers, saying it can no longer afford them.

CPSU deputy national president Rupert Evans came out swinging on Friday, attacking Airservices' senior management and alleging "callous and wasteful" conduct.

"It beggars belief that they would be wasting millions of dollars on consultants, then turn around and sack hundreds of staff on the grounds that they're broke," the union official said.

"It's entirely unfair and unacceptable that staff are paying the price for the questionable practices of Airservices management.

"Hardworking people who have committed their careers to the safety of Australia's skies are being thrown on the scrapheap so a few consultants can cash in.

"There has been growing unease and disquiet for some time among our members about the way that Airservices' senior management is operating and this audit absolutely reinforces that concern.

"Management's inability to properly deal with consultants casts serious doubt on their ability to be trusted with anything, let alone the safety of Australia's airspace or management of money."

Technical union Professional Australia joined aviation identity Dick Smith in calling for the resignation of Airservices chief executive Jason Harfield.

"The failure to ensure the proper management of probity concerns and conflict of interest issues let alone get value for money fell within the remit of the current CEO," union official Dave Smith said.

"These failings shouldn't have made him a candidate for the CEO position and should see him resign."

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