May 24, 2012

A New Deal for Tasmanian Exporters

The Gillard Labor Government has announced details of a one-off $20 million funding package to help Tasmania’s exporters reach international markets.

The package was first flagged in March in response to the decision last year by Tasmania’s sole international shipping container operator AAA to cease operations.

Since March, Commonwealth and Tasmanian Governments have worked together to craft the package which will ensure the State’s exports can continue to reach world markets.

These practical measures address the complex commercial realities facing Tasmanian exporters.

They also address deficiencies in the State’s supply lines and transport infrastructure, providing a better environment for Tasmanian exporters to compete internationally.

The funding package contains three key measures.

  1. Direct and immediate assistance to Tasmanian exporters through a one-off payment to help them stay competitive in the new shipping environment.
  2. Investing in infrastructure improvements at the Port of Burnie to increase container handling capacity and enhance the efficiency of movements within the port.
  3. Establish a freight logistics coordination team with an industry leadership.

Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and Federal Member for Braddon Sid Sidebottom says the package will be welcome news for Tasmania’s exporters.

“My Federal Tasmanian Labor colleagues and I listened to the concerns of our local exporters and have worked very closely with the Prime Minister and Minister Albanese to provide this much needed $20 million package,” Mr Sidebottom said.

“These infrastructure improvements at the Port of Burnie are crucial, and recognise its importance as the major freight port in Tasmania.

“The port will receive $4 million in Federal infrastructure funding to increase container handling capacity and improve the movement of goods within the port, boosting efficiency and helping to lower costs for Tasmanian exporters.

“Combined with the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme which was first announced by Gough Whitlam, the package supports exports which are so crucial to Tasmania’s economic growth.”

Federal Member for Lyons Dick Adams said the package is a much needed investment in Tasmania’s export industries.

“This is a blueprint for Tasmania to address the need for better coordination of our road, rail and shipping sectors and to create more efficient links to the mainland and overseas to meet the needs of the State both now, and well into the future,” Mr Adams said.

“I am delighted we have been able to secure this vital funding for Tasmania.”