Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, has welcomed the Deputy Prime Minister’s commitment to investigate allegations that Spirit of Tasmania ferry fares have risen, not fallen, during a “free vehicle” campaign.
Mr Wilkie raised the issue today in Federal Parliament after being contacted by several irate passengers, including a Queensland man who paid $50 less for Bass Strait passage before the “bring your car for free” promotion began. The question and response can be viewed at https://andrewwilkie.org/is-tt-line-covid-subsidy-a-mean-spirited-con/
“Is the TT-Line COVID subsidy actually a mean-spirited con?” Mr Wilkie said.
“This disgruntled passenger paid about $480 to travel on the Spirit from Melbourne to Devonport with his car on January 30, but $530 for return passage on March 19.
“The return journey is the same passenger fare type and cabin class he booked when he came down, so he is comparing apples with apples.
“Yes, vehicle charges have dropped. But, at the same time, it seems TT-Line is jacking up passenger and cabin fares so it can cost more to sail with a car than it did before the promotion.
“This would be state-sanctioned misuse of federal funding, a rip-off and another blow to the Tasmanian economy and tourism sector.”
Mr Wilkie said the Queensland visitor had also raised his concerns with the State Government but had received just one automated email reply to date.
“He says the cost breakdown clearly shows that the cost of the fare and the cabin have been greatly increased under the ‘free’ vehicle campaign,” Mr Wilkie said.
“I agree with the passenger that this appears to be a misleading campaign that is raising the cost of passage on the pretence that passengers are getting a reduced fare because their vehicle travels free. But this isn’t the case at all.”
*Screen shots of the Queensland man’s return bookings on the Spirit are available on request.