Boosting Tasmanian Business, Investment and Jobs

Media Release

WT079/2015

13 March 2015

Joint release with:

The Hon. Tony Abbott MP

Prime Minister

The Commonwealth Government will strengthen Tasmanian business, investment and jobs through a $203 million expansion to the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme.

From 1 January 2016, the Scheme will be extended to goods going to markets not currently covered by the Scheme. Tasmanian businesses selling these goods will be able to claim $700 per shipping container.

Shippers from King Island and the Furneaux Group of Islands will be eligible for a 15 per cent additional loading.

The expanded Freight Equalisation Scheme will boost the competitiveness of Tasmanian businesses and provide a substantial incentive for local businesses to sell their products to broader markets.

This significant expansion represents an increase of over 40 per cent in the Commonwealth's annual investment in the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme.

We are committed to retaining the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme and to making it more effective and more targeted. To improve the efficiency of the Scheme, the time frame for making and processing claims will be reduced to six months.

Shipping and freight services are critical to Tasmania's competitiveness. The Equalisation Scheme helps the state's businesses compete with businesses from other parts of Australia. Approximately 10,000 claims from 1,300 individual claimants are made annually under the Scheme.

A Coalition Government introduced the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme in 1976 and the Howard Government introduced the Bass Strait Vehicle Equalisation Scheme in 1996.

The Tasmanian Liberal Senate team and local Federal MPs Andrew Nikolic (Bass), Brett Whiteley (Braddon) and Eric Hutchinson (Lyons) have strongly advocated an expansion of the Scheme.

Today's announcement builds on significant funding the Commonwealth is already providing under the Economic Growth Plan for Tasmania to build productivity-enhancing infrastructure.

The Government is investing $1 billion in Tasmania's infrastructure, including $400 million for the Midland Highway and $38 million for the Hobart airport runway extension, and an additional $60 million for the Tranche II irrigation projects managed by Tasmanian Irrigation.

The $203 million expansion to the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme is part of the Commonwealth's plan to improve Tasmania's economic growth, employment and living standards.