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Federal Government boosts Bass Strait Sea Transport

John Anderson

Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Transport and Regional Services
Leader of the National Party


14th May 2002

The Federal Government has kept its election promise to boost the Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme (BSPVES).

The Government will spend $26.6 million in 2002-03 on the scheme, an increase of $9.1 million, or 52 percent, on the 2001-02 figure.

"In the election campaign, we promised to enhance the Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme, which helps reduce the cost of transporting passenger vehicles to and from Tasmania.

From 1 September 2002:

  • The Government will replace the existing seasonal rebate with a rebate of $150 each way. The rebate will apply all year round. The current rebate ranges from $100 each way during the low season (April-September) to $150 during the high season (December-January).
  • We will increase the rebate for motorhomes and vehicles towing a caravan to $300 each way. At present, motorhomes and vehicles with caravans only receive the same rebate as a car. Our initiative doubles the rebate for motorhomes and vehicles with caravans during the high season, and triples their rebate during the low season. It recognises the growing importance of extended motoring holidays, particularly by retirees.
  • Eligible drivers with a disability who are unable to travel by sea will be able to access the reduced passenger vehicle fare available under the scheme by shipping their vehicle and flying across Bass Strait. This measure will provide equal access to the scheme for people with a disability unable to travel by sea.

"The scheme has been an enormous success since we introduced it in 1996. The number of passenger vehicles shipped across Bass Strait has more than doubled, from 63,000 vehicles in 1995-96 to over 127,000 vehicles in 2000-01," Mr Anderson said.

Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme

"The Federal Government will spend $71 million in 2002-03 to help Tasmanian industries ship products across Bass Strait. The funding, under the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme (TFES), will help Tasmanian firms compete in mainland markets by reducing their cost disadvantage. The scheme recognises that Tasmanian industries do not have the option of transporting goods to mainland Australia by road or rail.

"About 1,450 shippers, ranging from small businesses to large companies, benefit from the scheme. In 2001-02, we expect to pay about 5,100 claims under the scheme, including products such as confectionery, frozen vegetables, and newsprint," Mr Anderson said.

The scheme covers northbound shipments of eligible goods produced in Tasmania for use or sale on the mainland, and southbound shipments of equipment and raw materials of Australian origin used as inputs to the Tasmanian mining, manufacturing, agricultural, fishing and forestry industries.

The Government's funding for both schemes is demand driven and the total cost is uncapped.

Media contact: Paul Chamberlin 02 62777680