Background—Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme

On this page you will find information about:

1. Purpose of the Scheme

The Commonwealth Government has provided financial assistance to shippers of freight between Tasmania and mainland Australia under the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme (TFES) since July 1976. The scheme was extended in 2008 to cover eligible shipments moved between the main island of Tasmania and King Island, and between the main island of Tasmania and any island in the Furneaux Group.

The Scheme provides financial assistance for cost incurred by shippers of eligible non-bulk goods moved by sea. The amount of assistance is based on the difference between the freight costs of moving the goods by sea and the notional freight costs of moving them by road over an equivalent distance. The Scheme's objective is to provide Tasmanian industries with equal opportunities to compete in other markets, recognising that, unlike their mainland counterparts, Tasmanian shippers do not have the option of transporting goods interstate by road or rail.

From 1 January 2016, the Scheme was extended to include eligible goods being shipped to the mainland regardless of their final destination.

2. Administration

The scheme is administered in accordance with Ministerial Directions approved by the Minister. Eligibility requirements and rates of assistance are described in the Ministerial Directions.

Ministerial Directions that apply to shipments from 1 January 2016:

  • TFES Ministerial Directions—April 2016
    DOC: 325 KB PDF: 238 KB ReadSpeaker

    As of 23 December 2015, poppy straw—01931 is included in Schedule 1 of the TFES Ministerial Directions—Goods eligible for assistance under the northbound and intrastate components of the scheme PDF: 434 KB ReadSpeaker.

    On 20 April 2016 the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport approved a variation to the TFES Ministerial Directions under subclause 8.2.1 of the Directions. The variation related to subclause 1.7.1 in relation to transhipment matters PDF: 564 KB ReadSpeaker.

Ministerial Directions that apply to shipments before 1 January 2016:

All claims for assistance for shipments under the scheme are assessed by the Department of Human Services' Hobart office on behalf of the Department.

The scheme is demand-driven and expenditure varies with economic conditions. In 2014–15, the Australian Government spent $108.9 million in assistance under the scheme.

Assistance under TFES is not considered income for the purposes of the Goods and Services Tax Act 1999.

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3. Eligibility for Assistance

As set out in the Ministerial Directions, a claim can only be made by an eligible person (individual or company) and only for assistance with shipping eligible goods. The scheme has different eligibility rules, depending on whether the goods are being shipped:

  • north from Tasmania to mainland Australia;
  • south from mainland Australia to Tasmania; or
  • intrastate between the main island of Tasmania and King Island, or between the main island of Tasmania and any island in the Furneaux Group (KIFG).

Additional assistance is available for northbound shipments to mainland Australia from the islands of the Furneaux Group that must be sent via the main island of Tasmania and require more than one type of transport mode to complete the interstate journey (e.g. trucked from one port to another for loading onto a different vessel).

Claimant eligibility:

Only the person who actually incurs and pays the costs of shipping eligible, non-bulk goods is eligible to claim assistance under the scheme. This is sufficient to be eligible for assistance shipping northbound goods and some intrastate goods.

However, to be eligible for assistance shipping southbound goods and some intrastate goods, the person also must either be:

  • engaged in the manufacturing, mining, agriculture, forestry or fishing industry
  • a sportsperson competing in a sporting event where prize money is paid; or
  • a professional entertainer performing in a show or event for payment.

Companies may also apply to act as a claims agent to apply for assistance on behalf of their customers.

Additional eligibility conditions may apply, as set out in the Ministerial Directions.

Eligibility of goods:

Certain cargoes are ineligible for assistance, including price equalised goods, and goods imported into Australia from overseas which have not undergone a manufacturing process before being shipped to or from Tasmania.

  • Assistance is available for northbound and intrastate shipments of goods listed on Schedule 1 of the Ministerial Directions.
  • Assistance is available for southbound and intrastate shipments of raw materials and equipment for use as inputs to the mining, manufacturing, agricultural, fishing and forestry industries in Tasmania.
  • In some circumstances, assistance may be available for shipping brood mares and their progeny and for the equipment of sportspersons and professional entertainers.

The cost of shipping must have already been paid before a claim for assistance is made. Additional eligibility conditions apply, as set out in the Ministerial Directions.

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4. Further information

Requests for information on applying for TFES and other administrative matters should be directed to:

Tasmanian Transport Programs
Department of Human Services
GPO Box 1269
FreeCALL: 1800 993 347
Fax: (03) 6222 2149

More information is found at the Department of Human Services' TFES webpage

The Department of Human Services undertakes the delivery of the TFES and the Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme on behalf of the Department.

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Last Updated: 3 May, 2016