Focus on mental health as pandemic drags on

Article supplied by RFDS: One of the most widespread challenges of the pandemic has been how to deal with lockdowns, changes to employment and financial circumstances, and not being able to see friends and family.

One of the most widespread challenges of the pandemic has been how to deal with lockdowns, changes to employment and financial circumstances, and not being able to see friends and family.

This has put a bigger focus on mental health than ever before. The sudden and abrupt change to the way of life has seen more people needing help and reaching out for it. 

The RFDSSE Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drugs (MHAoD) team have been working in our communities to ensure continued access to help is available. As well as continuing to offer services such as virtual consultations and telehealth, the team has looked at other ways to support communities, families and individuals. 

Vanessa Latham

This has included the COVID-19 In-Reach Older Persons Program, funded by Western Primary Health Network, which provides practical support to Older Persons across the whole of Western and Far Western LHD.

RFDSSE Mental Health Manager Vanessa Latham and members of her team located at Broken Hill participated in the COVID testing clinic and used the opportunity to check on the mental health of the community, as well as registering people for testing. 

Mental Health

“It was lovely to be able to introduce myself and explain the sequence of what was going to happen, and say ‘my background is mental health nursing, so, how is your mental health going at this time?’,” Ms Latham said. “During high demand times when cars needed to queue, it was a great opportunity to have a little chat.” 

Like so many divisions of the RFDSSE, the MHAoD team has looked for ways to assist with the unprecedented workload of running vaccination clinics across the service’s territory. Ken Pascoe is an AoD Clinician with the Flying Doctor and in addition to his regular duties, he has been travelling across NSW to conduct vaccinations, and has been tying in his mental health training.

“We are finding a lot of children and even adults have a fear of needles so being able to calm them down, get them to conduct some breathing exercises and relax makes the process easier for them. I am finding that when we go back to administer second doses, people look for me because their first dose went so well,” Mr Pascoe said.

Thanks to your support, we are able to keep these vital services going and ensure the mental health needs of people in regional and remote Australia are well looked after.

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Fatigue Management

Article supplied by CASA

Latest updates

  • CAO 48.1 will remain in force after the 2 December 2021 introduction of the flying operations CASRs (Parts 119, 121, 133, 135). Once transitioned to CAO 48.1 by 1 July 2021 operators will not be required to make a further amendment the fatigue sections of their operations manuals to comply with the new CASRs.
  • CASR 91.520 establishes obligations on all flight crew to be fit for duty including with respect to fatigue.

CASA’s Plain English Guide for fatigue management has been developed to make it easy for operators to understand the regulation, requirements and their obligations. This guide provides regulatory information in a simple, easy-to-read and understandable language.

Fatigue risk management involves operators and pilots taking steps to manage increasing levels of fatigue so that it does not result in a safety risk.

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New fatigue rules

Most operators need to comply with new fatigue rules from 1 July 2021. There are three routes for transition:

Resources are available to assist operators transition to the new fatigue rules, including our Plain English Guide for fatigue management and our  Fatigue transition policy (PDF 350.91 KB) that provides information for operators on how to meet transition timeframes and comply with the new rules.

Fatigue panel

To support industry with the implementation of the new fatigue rules, CASA has established a fatigue panel. The panel is made up of regulatory services staff experienced in fatigue policy and operationalising regulatory requirements and human performance specialists, providing a high level of advice relating to regulatory services and surveillance standards for CAO 48.1 Instrument 2019.

The fatigue panel is responsible for supporting efficient and consistent decision-making under the new fatigue rules. Ensuring consistency in regulatory services and surveillance activities, the panel provides specialist technical advice, assesses and evaluates:

  • transition plans for operators transitioning to the prescriptive rules (Appendices 1 to 6)
  • applications for minor variations to the prescriptive rules (Appendices 2 to 6)
  • fatigue risk management systems (FRMS) applications (Appendix 7).

Fatigue enquiries

CASA has changed how it manages enquiries and correspondence relating to the fatigue rules.

Please choose one of the options below that is relevant to your enquiry:

  • If you are seeking regulatory clarification, guidance, advice or support regarding the fatigue regulations submit an enquiry using the Regulatory guidance enquiry webform
  • If you are wanting to make an application to CASA or submit documents to support an existing application email
  • If neither of the criteria above applies to you, or you are uncertain of how to proceed, submit an enquiry using the Regulatory guidance enquiry webform.

Avalon Airport wins at 2021 Geelong Business Excellence Awards

Article supplied by: Avalon Airport

Avalon Airport is thrilled to take out the Safe & Healthy Business Award in the prestigious 2021 Geelong Business Excellence Awards. 

The awards ceremony was delivered online for the second year running due to Covid-19 restrictions, and a small number of the team gathered in the Avalon Airport cafe to celebrate being shortlisted for four awards: Medium to Large Business (sponsor: EML); Innovation, Research and Development (sponsor: VIVA Energy Australia); Corporate Social Responsibility (sponsor: genU) and Safe & Healthy Business (sponsor: WorkSafe).

Qantas queues at Avalon Airport in 2020The team was thrilled to win the WorkSafe sponsored Safe & Healthy Business Award. The airport has always made safety a priority, and completed major upgrades across 2020 that furthered their commitment to creating a safe and healthy space for staff and passengers.

During the 2020 lockdowns Avalon Management also prioritised the protection of jobs as much as possible, creating pathways for staff to learn and take on new roles or to work for other companies.

The awards period, which ended in May this year, covered a very difficult period in the airport’s history. Covid-19 had stopped flights in their tracks mere weeks after the launch of Citilink flights to Bali last year. Twice daily AirAsia flights to Kuala Lumpur as well as domestic Jetstar flights were all performing strongly before the pandemic disrupted the world. As borders between countries and states shut down one by one, the airport was left with some truly challenging decisions to make.

Avalon backed itself, choosing to continue with planned upgrades to the check in and domestic security areas, installing state of the art check in kiosks, auto bag drops and CT scanner. The technology was designed to create a more seamless journey through the airport for passengers, as well as increased safety.Avalon Airport Elenium Touchless Check in Kiosks

The airport also opened its taxiways and aprons to Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin, parking around forty aircraft and housing large
engineering teams.

Avalon also planned and developed a new nursery, which now boasts 2,600 young trees, that will eventually be dispersed around the airport’s entry and exit roads. In the future the airport hopes to use the nursery as an outdoor wellness area for staff and to wholesale plants.

The airport prides itself on its comprehensive program of training in areas as diverse as IT best practice to drug and alcohol awareness to aircraft refuelling.

Avalon Airport has made significant contributions to the community through sponsorships of local sporting clubs, and the CEO Justin Giddings is an Active Geelong ambassador and a Community Hero for Barwon Health in its initiative to encourage Covid-19 vaccinations.Avalon Airport staff

Justin Giddings said, “It’s been probably the toughest year you could ever go through being an airport, and to have an award recognising that you’ve done your best for your staff is just fantastic.”

The team at Avalon Airport would like to express their gratitude to the Geelong Chamber of Commerce and to WorkSafe.

Get your FREE First Aid infopack now

Article supplied by RFDS. Every day, lives are lost when people are injured and no one with them knows first aid.
Knowing what to do in an emergency could save a loved one’s life.

We hope you’re never in a situation where you need it – but knowing even basic first aid
could help give you the confidence you need to act appropriately when an accident

The Flying Doctor First Aid Guide will show you how to respond to common first aid
situations for adults.

Our Infant First Aid Pocket Guide will advise you what to do if a child is choking, has a
febrile convulsion (seizure), or minor head injury.

The personal Medical Emergency Card will ensure you always feel safe.

Register here to receive your FREE First Aid Guide, Infant First Aid Pocket Guide and
personal Medical Emergency Card.

Full article:

No increase in threshold monetary value for major development plans at privatised airports

Article supplied by AOPA Australia. The Department of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development and Communications has announced that it has scrapped its plan to increase the threshold monetary value for Major Development Plans from $25 to $35million at privatised airports, following strong objections from AOPA Australia and other industry bodies.

Under the Airports Act 1996, all leased federal airports, excluding Mount Isa and Tennant Creek, are required to develop and submit Major Development Plans (MDP) for airport developments if they exceed the monetary threshold of $25million.  An increase to $35million would enable airport property developers to undertake larger non-aviation projects without Ministerial or Departmental oversight.

“AOPA Australia would like to sincerely thank the Deputy Prime Minister, The Hon Barnaby Joyce MP, and the Department of Infrastructure, on this important announcement, it is an important win for common-sense and for aviation, “ Benjamin Morgan, Chief Executive AOPA Australia.

“The proposal to increase the monetary value from $25 to $35million, would have served to lower essential oversight, opening up the system to further gaming by privatised airport leaseholder operators,

“It’s a fact that privatised airports are being run by insatiable property developers who are prioritising non-aviation expansion, at the expense and to the detriment of the aviation infrastructure and stakeholder access,

“Small, medium and large aviation businesses alike, including the airlines themselves, have been thrust into a situation where they are being priced out of airports, and forced to accept aviation property leases and access/user charges that are unsustainable.

“National superannuation funds and billion-dollar property development corporations do not invest in small to medium sized general aviation.  They invest in property development, and the recent sale of Jandakot Airport for $1billion underscores, that our national aviation industry is under attack,

“Without question, privatised airport leaseholders hold unique unregulated monopoly powers, that deny the aviation industry it’s right of access and threaten our nations aviation infrastructure.” he said.

Media contact:

Chief Executive AOPA Australia
Mobile:  0415 577 724


Good afternoon,

We write further to our email of 30 August 2021 about the monetary threshold amount (the threshold) for airport major development plans (MDPs).

Under the subsection 89(10) of the Airports Act 1996 (the Act), there is an opportunity to increase the threshold for MDPs before each third anniversary of the subsection commencing. The subsection commenced on 28 September 2018.

Recent economic analysis conducted by the Department, and consultation with airports and the aviation sector, indicated greater interest in broader reform to the MDP process and associated triggers due to complexities that warrant further consideration. These include:

  • reviewing the development ‘triggers’ that require a MDP, to ensure the triggers are pragmatic, appropriate and fit-for-purpose;
  • improving consultation arrangements, to better align with state and territory planning frameworks; and
  • streamlining Commonwealth consideration and approval processes, particularly for low-impact developments.

Taking all stakeholder feedback into consideration, the threshold will remain at $25 million in line with subsection 89(9) of the Act while the Department investigates opportunities to reform and streamline overarching MDP arrangements. This may include moving towards a performance-based approach, where the assessment and approval process is more directly linked to the expected impacts of particular developments.

The Department is currently reviewing the Airports Act 1996 and regulations, to cut red tape, streamline Commonwealth processes and modernise airport planning regulations. The Department looks forward to working closely with airports and the aviation sector in progressing these important reforms, and support the sector as Australia recovers from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kind regards,

Aviation Reform section
GPO Box 594 Canberra, ACT 2601

Full article:

Avalon Airport’s new onsite nursery

avalon airport onsite nursery

Article supplied by Avalon Airport is developing an onsite nursery, with 4,500sqm now teeming with young trees.

Much has been made of the new check in space and processes that Avalon Airport has been innovating and upgrading across the Covid-19 period. New technology such as touchless kiosks, new auto bag drops and a state of the art CT scanner have been installed, creating a larger, safer space and a simpler, more seamless passenger experience.

What’s less known is that the airport has also been using the time to plan and now implement a new nursery in order to address both aesthetic and environmental needs.

The extensive airport entry and exit roads require trees. As well as beautification, lining the roads with trees provides a wind buffer for passengers, protects against soil erosion, and creates a clear way-finding system.

Installing fully grown trees can be a risky and costly exercise, particularly if the trees don’t take once they’ve been planted.

Creating a nursery addresses both issues simultaneously.

Saplings are of course far cheaper than full grown trees, an important consideration when requiring over 2,000 of them.

They are also more likely to thrive if established within their final environment, becoming accustomed to the exposure instead of being shocked by it if imported fully grown.

And if one or more of the trees doesn’t survive as a young plant then replacement is more cost effective.

Avalon Airport CEO Justin Giddings says, “We’re pleased to be establishing such a large area for Avalon Airport Nursery. We have a history of planting trees onsite, having planted around 200,000 in and around the airport since 2000 as part of Avalon Landcare. It’s great to be doing so again in such a prominent spot with the purpose of using the trees. We can’t wait for them to develop and be replanted in their final positions around the airport.”

Avalon Airport Nursery covers some 4,500sqm and contains around 2,600 plants. The bare rooted pot stock is a mix of native and international trees that thrive in the climate, and includes wattles, kurrajong trees, tea trees and banksias as well as the brilliant maidenhair and the beloved blue jacaranda.

Once the trees are more established the airport plans to convert space in the vicinity into a staff garden and picnic area, and eventually hopes to wholesale.

COVID 19: Responding to Need

Article supplied by: Royal Flying Doctor Service  Since February 2020 the RFDS has been part of the front-line response to COVID.The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) is part of Australia’s larger health system and considered an essential service.

Between 02 February 2020 and 27 Feb 2021 the RFDS has conducted 2,809 patient episodes of care for confirmed or high suspected COVID-19. There have been 2,721 inter-hospital transfers and 86 primary evacuations. All patients were either confirmed or strongly suspected of having COVID-19.

There have been 143 RFDS Respiratory clinics conducted, with 344 patients attended to.

We will now be assisting the Federal Government with the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines in areas that we service.

For the full article go to the Royal Flying Doctor Service website

Avalon Airport Quarantine Proposal

Article supplied by Avalon Airport: Statement from the CEO.  Avalon Airport quarantine facility proposal.  We welcome the Premier’s announcement today that Avalon Airport is under consideration to house an isolated purpose-built quarantine facility.

We are keen to assist where we can during this crisis, and our proposal is an offer in the hope that we can help find a solution for people returning to Australia.

Find out more at: