Tasmanian Shipping Full Speed Ahead: PC Report

Media Release

WT098/2014

24 June 2014

Tasmania's shipping services are set on a more competitive course with the release today of the Productivity Commission's Inquiry Report into Tasmanian Freight and Shipping commissioned by the Abbott Government in December 2013.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the purpose of the inquiry was to investigate and review the high costs of transporting goods to Tasmania and the impact on shippers.

“The Australian Government is firmly committed to supporting vital shipping services to boost productivity and put Tasmania's economy into high gear, and this report gives us something tangible to work with,” Mr Truss said.

“In addition to reviewing maritime arrangements, the report assesses Tasmania's economy, business and trade growth and how best to support tourism. Those are the considerations the government will now be examining.

“Keeping prices affordable for shippers and passengers, reforming maritime regulation and strengthening the maritime industry will help to put Tasmania on a more level playing field compared with mainland operators.”

Mr Truss said the Coalition Government is committed to addressing the unique needs of Tasmania's shipping industry to get the best result for industry and consumers.

“The Prime Minister has undertaken to personally hear feedback on the report at the Joint Economic Council meeting to be held in Tasmania in coming weeks,” Mr Truss added.

“Further, the government will consult closely with Tasmanian members and Senators who know first-hand how important competitive shipping and freight services are to the Tasmanian economy.

“The Prime Minister has also given his personal assurance to retain the Tasmania Freight Equalisation Scheme and the Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme.

“These schemes were introduced by previous Coalition Governments and we will honour our election commitment to keep them.”

The Government is considering the recommendations of the report and will provide a formal response following consultation with the Tasmanian Government and the Joint Commonwealth and Tasmania Economic Council.