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 only gap in our nation …

The Coalition Government under Abbott refused to follow the lead of Howard and Keating unnecessarily dividing our nation and savagely limiting growth in the Tasmanian economy. Will the Government under Turnbull choose a wiser course?

Peter Brohier, Convener of National Sea Highway Groups, largely responsible for the introduction of the Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalization Scheme BSPVES said today, “Tasmania is the only state not connected to the National Highway. In 1996, the Howard Coalition accepted that Bass Strait was the greatest barrier to the growth of population, investment and jobs for Tasmania. It offered to make this link part of the National Highway and to lower and maintain the cost of travel, by shipping, to that of road travel.

Despite massive ongoing federal funding from 1996 under the BSPVES, the scheme no longer delivers any form of equalisation and the Abbott Government refused, despite its name, to restore equalisation using it.

Recently the Government rejected the two way highway equalisation intentions of the scheme to move people and vehicles, while it equalised more freight movements. Contributors of 80% of gross state product need access to people but are denied fair access to the mainland population at their doorstep. Under the current Government, the nation may need to wait perhaps another 20 years to have the critical Bass Strait barrier removed. This approach is not reflective of a working democracy and sound economic management.

Policies for free and fair trade, competition between air and sea travel, and freedom of movement of people across the Victorian – Tasmanian border are neither addressed nor considered. Coastal shipping reform can never offer the certainty and fairness of access required on an inter-capital interstate route without sensible highway equalisation policies. Canberra could not survive without both fair air and surface links, nor can Tasmania.

The Coalition Government seems to prefer that federal taxpayers fund the inefficient movement of the shell of cars, at $430 return, without addressing the cost of travel of the people inside or foot passengers. Howard and Keating policies tried to efficiently address both. Today there is every resource to start fairly linking our nation and closing the only interstate gap in our National Highway. Canberra’s responsibility under federation is to integrate the nation’s economy through the interstate movement of both people and freight.

Federal governance that allows a publically initiated and supported scheme with initially clear Coalition equalisation objectives to be redirected to largely benefit others, with almost no controls and inadequate monitoring is unacceptable. Bass Strait equalisation schemes offer limited coverage and are now a disgrace and Canberra’s way forward has been no better.

Sound sea highway policies, not those that lack vision or transparency and encourage further waste are needed. New leadership under Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull can and should make this a priority for change. Labor should also not remain silent.”

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Russell

    September 20, 2015 at 12:01 am

    Re #6
    From the number of people I’ve spoken with over the years, the current boats wouldn’t be big or fast enough to carry them.

    If Tasmania’s tourism numbers has skyrocketed, according to Tasmanian Ministers, then they must be coming by plane (for around $49-79 and one hour’s flight each way) because there were only 200 on board the other week when I last travelled uncomfortably by boat.

  2. Gordon Bradbury

    September 19, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Russell (#5) only kidding on the forestry subsidies. That would become a disaster. The politicians would subsidise logs across Bass Strait and charge TT-Line customers to pay for it.

    But in terms of getting our politicians to focus on making Bass Strait part of the National Highway system we need some hook like that.

    Some one needs to do a study that would show how many tourists would come to Tasmania by boat if the boat trip cost a highway-driving equivalent amount (say $50 each way).

  3. Russell

    September 19, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Re #4

    No more subsidies for the forest industry.

    They can’t make a profit giving it away, so why pay them even more to run at a further loss?

    “link the forest industry to getting logs across Bass Strait” and you can kiss ALL the remaining forests goodbye.

  4. Gordon Bradbury

    September 19, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    “In 1996, the Howard Coalition accepted that Bass Strait was the greatest barrier to the growth of population, investment and jobs for Tasmania. It offered to make this link part of the National Highway and to lower and maintain the cost of travel, by shipping, to that of road travel”.

    Was that a Howard 1996 election promise??

    Obviously it was another “non-core” promise.

    We need to be able to link the forest industry to getting logs across Bass Strait, then we would have transport equality tomorrow!!

    Expendable Tasmania – thrown in the political trash can again. Not to mention that Tasmania’s own politicians refuse to support this policy of transport equality.

    Keep up the good fight Peter!

  5. Peter mackenzie

    September 16, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    Dear Peter (author)

    My apologies,

    I meant to write a follow- up last night to my comment at #2

    My comment was tongue-in-cheek, having just fired off an email to our new Prime Minister, for which I expect to get the the type of response that I expected you too would receive.

    In fact after decades of such exchanges, I am tempted to write a response for the relevant pollie/ bureaucrat and just ask them to sign and return!

    So no disrespect intended towards you or you work , for which I wish you all the best, and that Mr Turnbull might listen and act in support.

  6. Peter Mackenzie

    September 16, 2015 at 3:13 am

    Dear Peter (author)

    Sadly, all governments for decades have had poor transport approaches ( there is no system as such), all over Australia.

    The key words are poorly chosen, over-priced projects, and plentiful pork-barrelling.

    Federal Minister Truss et al are currently excited ( their words) about throwing more than a $billion at a new Toowoomba Range truck road that is almost certainly unnecessary (even the RACQ motoring organisation doubts it is necessary) – though the government won’t release the figures.

    The latest cash splash is $1.1 billion for 7 KILOMETRES of highway upgrade of the Bruce Highway-also in Qld . $1.1 billion per kilometre.

    But please, do try Mr Turnbull PM…. Oh here’s your reply already….

    Dear Mr Brohier,

    Let me say from the outset that our government is fully committed to……………. Fully support Tasmanian Industry and community…………..unfortunately due to budget constraints amused by the previous Labor Government……… carefully and rigorously selected projects……..thank you for your interest
    Malcolm Turnbulsh

  7. Russell

    September 15, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    Let’s hope the Incat ferry between Burnie and Geelong gets the backing and green light to provide some desperately needed competition.

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