Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Economy

The Question of Bass Strait

What’s wrong with sea access across Bass Strait?

Federal equalisation schemes exclude the fair transport of people, many vehicles and about half the freight. Together the schemes do not deliver the equivalent of even the worst road in Australia. The costs of crossing also vary widely when compared with the cost of road travel leaving a level of isolation and access uncertainty not experienced across our nation. This hinders the growth of the Tasmanian economy and limits personal mobility. Its social and economic consequences are severe and are reflected in the state of the Tasmanian economy. Bass Strait remains the only gap in our national integrated transport grid.

Should Canberra throw more money at local worthwhile projects such as Bass Strait?

No. Its responsibility is to set the framework for a strong national economy. Bass Strait is such a project. More Federal funding for the Midland Highway without connecting it to the full National Highway grid grossly under utilises Canberra’s investment. Bass Strait equalisation is about integrating two state economies for the first time since the sea lanes connected the colonies. It’s about increasing investment, population and jobs on both sides of Bass Strait.

Why didn’t Gillard Labor fix Bass Strait in the last budget?

The Tasmanian Government has not asked for a fair Bass Strait link. By using shipping, operating on the same principle as a bridge, Canberra can return immediate economic benefits to South Eastern Australia – less people on welfare, more jobs, more investment, more viable use of public and private infrastructure and offer a growing economy. Unlike Prime Minister’s Keating and Howard, Prime Minister Gillard is yet to act.

Has Bass Strait been described by the Howard Coalition as “the single most serious impediment to growth in jobs, investment and population for Tasmania” and by the Tony Abbott as “Tasmania’s lifeline”?

Yes – an impediment of this magnitude needs significant attention right now.

Were Tasmanians promised that the Coalition would recognise Bass Strait as “part of the national highway”?

Yes. This was the core Coalition promise in the 1996 Federal election. Prime Minister Keating also offered the equivalent of a bridge using a fast ferry offering low passenger and vehicle fares. The Howard proposal was to equalise the costs of driver and a car and to index it to the cost of road travel. Passenger fares were to fall through competition.

What has gone wrong?

No competition eventuated. Over the last thirty years well funded Federal equalisation schemes have not been adjusted to meet the needs of a modern economy or have been diverted to meet the expectations of other interests. The Bass Strait schemes urgently need to be bought back to deliver highway “equalisation”.

What is stopping the implementation of a full National Sea Highway “NSH”?

The people of Tasmania have provided a Federal mandate for a NSH. Canberra continues to pay for an uncapped, demand driven and flexible Federal highway equalisation scheme from 1996. There are no arguments of substance against it and no mandate for the status quo. Canberra can start to act immediately and, in this case, there is no need to plan and build a road.

Could Tasmania use its ferries to deliver a NSH for people and vehicles?

Yes, right now. TT Line supported the national sea highway concept and objectives prior to the introduction of the BSPVES. The Tasmanian Government could instruct its TT Line to so act – but it doesn’t have to. Bass Strait remains a Federal responsibility – it’s up to Canberra to set the proper framework for all Bass Strait shipping. There is no directive from Canberra to deliver highway equalisation for people and vehicles. Unlike TFES, the Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme “BSPVES” now doesn’t even contain a formula for equalisation – Canberra removed it. The Federal monitoring of the BSPVES also does involve or reflect the interests of a wide range of stakeholders on both sides of Bass Strait.

Why change the status quo?

It has been recently accepted that TT Line is “selling an experience” and that its mainland customers want an “end – to – end travel experience”. TT Line has acknowledged that Tasmanians want A to B travel. It seems reasonable to suspect that mainlanders, who chose not to travel with TT Line, also want the same as many Tasmanians. The Chairman of TT Line recently accepted that there is “another world”, “heavy on seats, heavy on lane metres of cars and caravans and the grey nomads” and said that he was willing to investigate that “other world”. Tasmanian business and all other activities cannot afford to have a Federal equalisation scheme facilitate “travel experiences” or be focussed mainly on “driving holidays for mainlanders” at the expense of the provision of basic A to B surface transport. The choice seems to be to benefit from a trickle down impact from tourism policies or from a huge and direct “sea highway” driver of a whole economy.

Canberra and Tasmania should not leave this vital link to the determination of one operator to assess what may be “best for Tasmania” and to operate under Tasmanian Government guidelines to “just operate commercially” – also to a Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme “TFES” that covers about half the freight.

The colonies federated to establish a national integrated economy aimed at moving people and freight across the whole nation, not just part of it. This link should now be made compatible with existing land – based highway connections that have cost billions and meet the needs of the whole Australian community, on both sides of Bass Strait.

Perhaps while Canberra fails to act to target highway equivalence, TT Line could consider offering highway-based fares whilst maintaining its existing operational passenger and freight capacity by using one of its ferries twice a day, all year, and not just for a few days over summer. TT Line could then use its other ferry to service the many ports around Tasmania, including its substantial island chain and provide passenger and freight transport and an “end to end travel experience” to the greater numbers of people who would, on a NSH, actually get to Tasmania.

The nation is in deficit – why ask for more money right now?

Currently about $140 million a year is expended by Canberra on two equalisation schemes that look like Bass Strait Tasmanian related subsidies. A full NSH can cost Canberra about $280 million a year. On an equalisation basis, all Federal Bass Strait funding should then be apportioned between Victoria and Tasmania as the state border is about half way across Bass Strait. A fair application of this funding will then require no increase in Tasmania’s allocation as Canberra moves from subsidies to providing full NSH funding, fairly sharing the $280 million equally between two states. Australia is not broke enough for this year’s budget to contain multi-billion road and rail improvement schemes across Australia. Why omit the link to Tasmania? Bass Strait equalisation is just as vital to Tasmania as coal is to a steam engine.

What about other states or regions in Australia- don’t they suffer too?

All other regions are already connected to the national integrated transport grid. Consistent, all-year, highway equivalent access is vital regardless of the terrain it crosses and whether expensive roads and bridges, or cheaper punts or ferries are used. A defective link destroys economies. More Federal and State monies are then wasted to prop up business and public facilities when this link could simply give Tasmania the artery it needs to revive its whole economy.

Is equalisation just about freight?

In a modern economy the movement of both people and freight are both just as critical. With a full NSH, international exports can be facilitated through Melbourne without World Trade Organisation objections, at highway cost.

Could Canberra reduce Tasmania’s GST payments?

Yes – but Tasmania is on the shortest interstate, inter- capital route in this nation and very close to the nation’s largest population corridor but It gets about the same number of interstate tourists as the remote Northern Territory. This imbalance is largely caused by access cost difficulties. GST payments don’t integrate economies – highways that connect, do. Surely GST handouts should be based on need after an economy is given a chance to flourish.

Could Tasmania lose existing Bass Strait subsidies?

Bringing equalisation schemes back to their original purpose, and expanding them, removes a hand out mentality and replaces it with the highest level of justification – interstate connectivity as Tasmania’s birthright from federation. Surely it’s better to justify Federal payments this way. When the BSPVES was introduced TFES was not reduced. Why fear a loss now? Why encourage or allow Canberra to turn equalisation into insecure subsidies and then lament their possible loss? This approach encourages criticism of Tasmania from across Australia.

Most people travel by air so why care if Tasmania has a NSH?

The choice of modes of travel respond significantly to the price differential between air and sea. Tasmanians gave a mandate for a National Sea Highway. Highways are used over short distances. All states need an effective air and surface connection. Why not Tasmania? Consistently priced interstate surface travel is vital for Federal economic and competition policies to work. Bass Strait is not just about tourism – it’s about living. That is why ferries, not cruise boats, are used for transport across the rest of the world. Air is required to compete with highway surface travel over every other interstate border – why not also between Victoria and Tasmania? Discount light luggage air travel may not be a cheap travel option after on the ground add-on costs are included. It also fails to encourage the development of better intrastate transport links. It does not produce the same level and spread of economic benefits through Victoria and Tasmania that surface travel would deliver.

But can people get into and out of Tasmania easily?

Price and capacity have been found to be the major determinants of crossing Bass Strait by sea. If consistent, all-year, highway based prices were offered, large amounts of existing under-utilised shipping capacity could be used right now. Extra capacity can be brought from the northern hemisphere in times of high demand. It’s not just for the grey nomads – it’s for guaranteeing ordinary Australians, including Tasmanians, the right of highway access to the rest of Australia. Many Tasmanian families just leave if they don’t have fair and ready access to family and friends interstate

What about lower consumer prices?

Southbound consumables are not covered by TFES. Others interstate enjoy fair trade policies. Also with the greater access to people, overheads can be spread over a larger population base bringing down the cost of goods and services. Demand curves can move outward if certainty of access is established and maintained.

What about air services?

Air services could increase with a more vibrant internal economy. Closure of the Federal and Hume Highway links to Canberra would severely damage its economy. Canberra couldn’t rely on air alone – neither can Tasmania. A level playing field is necessary across this nation for both air and surface transport treating all states equally. Currently Bass Strait schemes skew access in favour of some industries and not others.

Should Tasmanians holiday at home?

Yes, as an option, but not of necessity. Tasmania is part of Australia and its people also fund a national transport network costing billions. They should be able to enjoy fair interstate access to it at the same cost per km as others. Tasmania would then take advantage of its geographical position near the nation’s largest population corridor and not see Bass Strait, or loss of its own holiday makers, as a detriment.

Could southbound equalisation hurt some Tasmanian protected industries?

Under a full NSH, these industries will benefit by greater access to an expanded local market. They can be given some time to re-adjust, if necessary. Protectionism should not be allowed to keep the price of consumables high.

What will happen to the Wilkie – Katter motion to make Bass Strait part of the National Highway?

There are now few opportunities left to have the motion debated in the House of Representatives. Gillard Labor could fix Bass Strait before its caretaker mode starts.

Given the sea highway justification of the BSPVES, the Federal mandates, the consequential uncapped federal equalisation funding over many years and the social and economic importance of a NSH, it is astonishing that a first world working democracy can’t deliver equity to the Tasmanian people and fair access to our island state.

Sadly, it would seem that the current Tasmanian or Federal Governments are unwilling or unable to fix Bass Strait – perhaps, not even after the influence of the ballot box. The nation is left to ponder – why?

* Peter Brohier was born in Devonport, Tasmania. He now lives in Nth Caulfield, Victoria. He is retired lawyer and Chairman of the former National Sea Highway Committee. Peter started his campaign at a public meeting at the Burnie Civic Centre about 20 years ago and has continued to fight for Bass Strait transport equity since 1992. Peter was described by Paul Lennon as the person most responsible for the introduction of the Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation scheme. He is the recipient of the Australian Hotels Association -Tasmania award for outstanding services to tourism.

Earlier on Tasmanian Times:

Bass Strait: The critical Wilkie-Katter motion

Brown gives Treasurer Bass Strait plea

Fairly linking Bass Strait is critical for Tasmania

Paul O’Halloran: Tourism boost as Tarkine officially named, TT Media here

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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Basil Fitch

    June 2, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    #8 Yes indeed Brenton-Labor’s Brenton Best’s outburst attacking Green’s leader Nick McKim in Parliament should be classed as intolerable by Lara Giddings and the Labor Party.

    The Greens have honoured their agreement with the Labor Party to form Gov., and have supported them for the last 3 years in turbulent times , made by Labor Not Greens.
    Over the last 100 yrs the Labor Movement always demanded solidarity by its elected members and any departure was labelled a ‘rat’, disendorsed and kicked out of the Party.

    Silence from the Premier and others indicate they support Brenton Best’s comments.

    If this is the case I call on the 5 Greens to dump Labor and go to the polls before the Federal Election.

    Brenton Best’s only contribution to Parliament I can recall was to crash a car and mislead Parliament and had to apologise. Media reports also state he has been ‘dumped’ as Deputy Speaker, ‘Really’! Basil

  2. Russell

    June 1, 2013 at 12:03 am

    Huh?

  3. Garry Stannus

    May 31, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    …/
    So I cannot look out on the waters of Bass Strait without my baggage colouring my thoughts. I did my years of trying to scrape and survive, to get across the water, family included, hustle and all that. The usual reason I take the ferry these days, is to take the ute. Mate, if you’ve got wheels, on the mainland, you can get to a lot of places and a lot of people. You know that. On a weekend, you can just take off, be in New South within hours. Just have to fill up the tank. But Tassie? Bookings, identification, security checks, delays and drop kicks.

    So, particularly when returning, I like to dine à la carte. It’s not a big ‘carte’, as it goes, but I like to take my mac in with me, and get online until my wireless connection drops out. I like the clean linen, the softness as opposed to the clatter of the serve-yourself bains-marie, I like wine lists, and so forth. I like to have a really enjoyable time at the table, as the ferry heads out down the bay. It’s probably because I know I’m going back to an island where struggle waits. Reminds me of a Somerset Maugham story, of an English civil servant, who’d gone on holiday to Capri, had seen, I suppose, the Blue Grotto, had seen the full moon over the hills. Fell in love with the place. He decided to cash in his chips back home, and come back and live on Capri. He knew that the money wouldn’t last forever, so he decided he’d kill himself when it ran out. That (I guess) it was better to have lived well till the end, than to have had a long miserable innings.

    And so he did. And he grew to be known and liked by the locals on the island. His love for the place increased. But there came a time when his English pension/remittance ran out. At first it didn’t matter. People gave him credit. He’d been there for years, by this time. He still had lodgings and could get a drink and so on. But such a state of affairs could not last forever. And his circumstances deteriorated. I think he was almost living wild, begging and gone mad by the end of it. He’d simply loved the place too much to be able to say goodbye to it. When he died, it must have been as a wild, mad beggar.

    His is a story that caught me. It was well before I’d met Tasmania that I’d read it, back in the early 70s. I must be a sentimentalist or something, but these are the things I see when I stand at a ship’s rail. And watch my homeland slip into the distance. Maybe it’s different for other immigranti, but for me the on-board bars, the TV/movies lounges are too horrible to contemplate. For Maugham’s civil servant, it was the sight of the full moon rising over Capri that he could not say ‘no’ to.

  4. Garry Stannus

    May 31, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    LIFFEY: Ah, what a beaut arvo, Russell. There is no wind at the house, it’s warm outside and the cloud has cleared away. Just before I came up to the house for ‘a break’, I had been down at the dam and I heard a muted roar up near the cliffs, like on some of those really cold winter early mornings, how the air falls down off the plateau cliffs, all along, and creates a constant roar as it ruffles the leaves in the canopies below. How many times I’ve heard the approaching wind at night, coming like an onslaught, louder till it encounters the house, passes and then things, thankfully, calm. And the house can be felt to sway, in the dark. (It’s sort of tall) And I knew all those nights what Miranda was experiencing, or at least, I thought I knew. If it had been me, I should have been out of my mind in panic, 60m up in the darkness of rain, wind, roaring while the tree, not swayed, but twisted. Bob got the guernsey this last time, but I would give her and Jenny Weber the Tas Timer of the Year 2013 … maybe a joint prize … for sheer bravery and commitment. You know, I would just hope that those on ‘the other side’ of the forestry fence could recognise the specialness that is in those two girls/women. There are others too. George Harriss deserves some sort of recognition. Not that I agree with him. But I acknowledge his intelligence, his commitment and I don’t reckon he’s in it for self interest. I reckon he believes in what he’s doing – and devotes himself to his cause which unfortunately is not one to which I subscribe.

    So that ‘muted roar’ from up the cliffs had taken its time to make its way down the nearly 1km decline, and I stood and waited to see how it moved the upper story canopy, the stringybark and white gum, when it got to my neck of the woods. It wasn’t violent, it set the tops bending for less than a minute, while over to the side others remained untouched. The air is so clean this arvo, particularly given that it’s not at all cold. And now it’s still – as if it had never passed.

    I find leaving Tasmania by ferry to be always emotionally difficult. I don’t yet know why. It doesn’t happen when I take the plane. My life in this state, since I came in the 80s, has been much like most other people’s … times of hardship, struggle and times of great worth. I think they (in the big cities) just don’t know how the rest of the country ticks. You do. You’ve been around. More than me, I know. I feel like, when I’m on the ferry, waiting in the car park, staring out over the railing, or down at the stern, out of the wind, I’m leaving a place of difference, a place where life is much more in your face, be it the ever present forestry stuff, the highly visible differences in the rural communities, the inability as it seems, to put our troubles behind us. In my line of work, I see how these things play out amongst our children, how the dominant paradigm dominates, yet I find respect for people in unlikely places. I cannot work it all out.

    I just know, when I’m on the ferry, going to the mainland, to a town that is so big there would be millions of people in it who have never been to its borders, who imagine that the values they share implicitly are right for the whole nation, who are that removed by sheer scale from those in power, that they simply cannot understand what it is for Tasmanians like you or me, to be living on the coal face. Here, we are not surprised to see our pollies in the street, or to see the industry barons up at Sporties and sometimes down at the Magistrates Court.
    …/

  5. Russell

    May 31, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Re #10
    Just do what I do Garry, – take your own food, thermos, doona and pillow, try to find a tv which doesn’t have a soapie or Big Brother on it and pray for the bars to close so you can attempt sleep. Or, fly out of Devonport within minimial interruption.

  6. Wining Pom

    May 31, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Perhaps if we put speed humps every 100m across the Nullabor, some other state might realize what it is to be disadvantaged.

  7. Garry Stannus

    May 31, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Yes, it is an interesting question, that of treating Bass Strait as a qualifier for full national highway funding. I thought it had been done, back then, around the Keating-Howard cusp. I remember the meals and fares on the ferry got cheaper and the quality got better. But in recent years, it hasn’t felt so cheap. Perhaps this is a comparative thing, because in the same time, air fares seem to have got within everyone’s reach. I have a pet grouch, and that is security. Last time on the wharf at Station Pier, stinking hot day, as usual, hours in the heat, despite my best efforts to arrive at the tail-end, the usual questions at the wharf, the bonnet and ute-tray inspection before getting onto the pier proper, inching my way up to the end, then around and back up to the booth where you get your ticket, but a second security check before that and then through the booth (already after departure time) and then a bloody third check!

    Gee, and I can tell you they don’t like customer feedback delivered in the heat of the moment. So I get onto the boat, ra-de-ra-de-ra, and I’ve just got to have a shower and clean up, before going up to get a meal. I do that and make my way to the expensive one, you know, where they have actual table linen and some well presented food. ‘Sorry mate (oops, they would have said ‘Sorry Sir’) but we are not taking further booking tonight…’

    The restaurant was effing ¾ empty. I challenged this and got the answer that walk-ins/bookings were only accepted up to an hour and a half (or some figure like that) after the official sailing time. It was stiff cheese for me, because the vessel’s departure was delayed by an hour or so, and our getting on board had been similarly delayed.

    ‘Can’t you work some overtime, seeing’s as how it was we didn’t get on till late?

    ‘We’ve already been working overtime and we cannot accept any further bookings.’

    The place around the corner, where you can get bain-marie dims sims, chips and that sort of stuff was still open, so I went there, with a mum and dad and kids, who were having their big ‘Tasmanian Experience’ holiday. They were quite upset at how things were turning out … hours on the wharf … security checks just for practice while we waited for the tassie vehicles to offload … the à la carte restaurant closing 30 mins after we got on board … dim sims à la carte! They’d had their big campervan thingy entered and searched, like me, for the third time while being on the wharf.

    I served myself from les bains-marie, and bought two glasses of red from the bar closeby. I placed everything on a table just outside the restaurant-en-closing, where there were some ‘overflow tables’ with linen. I like my linen. The waitress who’d told me they couldn’t allow me in, came outside to my possy and told me I couldn’t sit there – with which I remonstrated. Quite simply I wasn’t going to move until I’d eaten. Maybe anger’s a substitute for courage.

    The manager came. We spoke, they agreed to let me keep my seat at the empty overflow tables. Of course I’ve also had gripes about the Tasmanian end of the journey. The waits in the car decks, the queuing up of vehicles once off the ferry, the customs/quarantine ‘inspection’, the sniffer dog. The level of service is sometimes feels pedestrian and devoid of care. It’s similar these days also at the airport. Launceston used to be such a pretty, open and relaxed place.

    Just to close, back on Bass Strait, so to speak, I might question Peter Brohier’s statement (below the heading: ‘The nation is in deficit – why ask for more money right now?’) that…

    “the state border is about half way across Bass Strait.”

    In fact, Tasmania’s northern (sea) border extends to less than 10 kms from the Victorian mainland (i.e. the tip of Wilson’s Prom). There is also a terrestrial Vic-Tas border on one of the islets of the Hogan Group, and from memory it is about 85m in length. As I understand it, the rocks and islands of Bass strait were all to have been part of Tasmania, but a mapping error had wrongly calculated the latitude of the Prom, the border (again, as I understand it) had been meant to commence at the tip of the Prom but using wrong figures for the latitude, in actuality fixed the border some 7-8 kms out into the strait. We was robbed! I think we should demand that the border be returned to where it was originally intended. (Grin … with maybe a dash of seriousness!)

  8. phill Parsons

    May 31, 2013 at 11:33 am

    is that big Dick?. Say no more.

  9. Russell

    May 30, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    Re #7
    And Brenton, no doubt!

  10. Russell

    May 30, 2013 at 2:33 am

    Why is it that only Independents force the issue on obvious national benefits?

    Vote more Independents in!

  11. Leonard Colquhoun

    May 29, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Has anyone claimed to have seen fox scats in Bass Strait?

  12. A.K.

    May 29, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Once again people are living in hope the lab/lib coalition will do the right thing by Tas. The facts are, they really don’t care about us at all. If their parties hierarchy and big business had they way, they’d give us away to someone else because we don’t provide them and their vested interests with enough money to satisfy them. In fact we take more money than we contribute to the Aus economy, because of the incompetence of the political and bureaucratic system.

    They will never introduce a true equalisation program, there is no monetary or political benefit to them in any way. The only option we have is to do it ourselves by lowing costs with innovative practices, like running the ferries on seed oils. This would cut costs dramatically and allow for lower prices, meaning more passengers and freight could be carried.

    The idea of bringing a vessel from the Northern hemisphere to compensate in busy times is ludicrous, and unnecessarily expensive. Much better to invest our money in the state and have Incat build a 150m ferry for fast freight and passenger transport to Aus. It would cut freight transport times by about 60%, reducing costs and give a fast trip. If you slowed the spirits down, for a real sea experience, this would give people and business options of a fast reasonably priced trip, or a low cost slower more enjoyable holiday at sea. Run the fast ferry from George town, upgrade the rail line and bring the trains to the ferries at both Devonport and George town. This would mean large freight and containers could be placed on rail all the way, reducing road damage and danger. Plus it would reduce transport costs acoss the board.

  13. John Biggs

    May 29, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    The phrase that shocked me most in this brilliant article is this: “The Tasmanian Government has not asked for a fair Bass Strait link.”

    I take it this means that with everying else in place all it needed was Giddings to push this NSH concept — and she hasn’t! That is neglect for which she should not be forgiven.

  14. Isla MacGregor

    May 29, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Congratulations to Wilkie and Katter for pushing this urgent equalisation scheme for Tasmania.

    It beggars belief that nothing has been implemented to enable fair access between Tasmania and the mainland.

    Federal politicians need to support the Wilkie – Katter motion being debated as a matter of urgency.

    At a time when Tasmania is in the depths of a financial crisis the economic benefits to the entire community of this NSH are undeniable.

    There has been plenty of money to throw around for the TFA – but then there are serious questions about the number of votes in those dubious $$’s spent. No unions thumping the table about this one over loss of jobs.

    I ask Julia Gillard and all her Tasmanian parliamentary colleagues – if you don’t want to keep Tasmania isolated then why continue this discrimination against the poorest state in the nation?

  15. Estelle Ross

    May 29, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    One of the main reasons holding back economic growth in Tasmania is the prohibitive cost of freight over Bass Strait. Couple this with the recent hike of the Port of Melbourne fees and it is a recipe for disaster. Compounding all of this is the lack of a regular overseas shipping service and now the exorbitant hike in Quarantine fees what chance have our industries and agriculturalists of making a decent living? It’s about time that our Fed pollies did more to expedite the solution. Considering that both Bass and Braddon are marginal seats what better time for them to act?

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