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Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, delivered the following 90 second statement to the Parliament.

“One of the major brakes on economic development in Tasmania is the cost of getting people, vehicles and freight across Bass Strait; which is why we urgently need enhancement of both the Bass Strait Freight Equalisation Scheme and the Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme. Only then will Tasmanians enjoy genuine parity to mainland transport costs, which is more important than ever as the state recovers from pandemic lockdowns and border closures, and for Tasmania to take full advantage of the current tourist boom.

“The equalisation schemes have tried to cover the gaps, but frankly they’ve never come close to offsetting the added cost of crossing the Strait. Moreover some businesses tell me it costs them more to pay the staff to fill out the paperwork to access the subsidies, than they actually save from the subsidies. And after the last Federal Government’s attempt to further subsidise vehicle passenger fares resulted in gross price hikes for customers, rather than savings, it’s clear a more effective scheme is needed.

“The cost for freight vehicles and passengers to cross the Strait should be no more than travelling the same distance on Highway One on the mainland. So I call on the new Government to finally implement an effective subsidy scheme, one which applies to all outbound and inbound people, vehicles and freight. Because only then will Tasmania’s economy be unleashed.”