Parkes was opened to oversea users and gave me a great time learning many things. Appreciated.
I agree to the direction of automation of the operation. However, for we oversea users it is redicurous to come to Epping room rather than Parkes to make observations! Only In site, we can adjust the observation plans according to local conditions, and can handle many details which I am not sure we can do remotely. For example, reset the correlator by press button by hand (!) after failure of re"configure", check cables by my own eyes and reconnect that by hand after you find some data wrong. How these can be done by a remote observer? If I am the remote observer, I would have much less sense to do so, not even mention these people who never come to Parkes.
Also, there are many many trivail but key issues for successful observations are not always can be easily find from documents, while helps can be obtained from the "experenced doctor", the local OIC John Reynolds. How all detailed things can all be found from thousands of documents? I can not belive why ATNF wants to remove such a "doctor" by assuming the telescope is always 100% healthy.
I strongly suggest to have option of in-site observation and local support, which I am sure is fundamental to the success of many projects, although the technical team may take more duties to development on ASKAP.