Mar 23, 2012

Immediate help for Tasmanian exporters on the way

After discussions between Labor’s Tasmanian MPs, Prime Minister Julia Gillard and myself, I can today announce that the Federal Labor Government will provide a $20 million package to assist local exporters access international markets.

The funding will go to the State Government who will decide how best to use it.

We appreciate the difficulties which have arisen following the decision by the State’s sole international shipping operator to cease services in April 2011.  That is why we are acting to provide some short term help while we continue to work on
a permanent solution.

To this end I have directed Infrastructure Australia to work with Infrastructure Tasmania to develop a long term strategic transport plan, with the first in a number of industry roundtables to be held in Launceston next Monday.

While the Federal Government will continue providing leadership, tackling the commercial realities which led to the loss of international services in the first place will require cooperation amongst Tasmania’s various industries and some hard decisions by the State Government.

Simply changing the existing Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme is no silver bullet or a substitute for a long term solution.