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Labor backs Tasmanian growth with new $40 million freight support package

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Campaign Media Release

Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese Premier of Tasmania Lara Giddings Tasmanian Infrastructure Minister David O’Byrne

Labor backs Tasmanian growth with new $40 million freight support package

A new $40 million Tasmanian Freight Package will provide immediate support for Tasmanian producers.

It responds to industry requests for support to enable exporters to increase efficiencies and reduce costs from supply chains.

The Tasmanian Freight Package contains four key measures, including specific support for medium and small producers:

1. $37.5 million in grant funding to partner with international exporters to innovate on projects or initiatives that will help improve freight efficiencies; 2. Direct and expert advisory support on freight logistics and freight cost reductions. Specific measures identified as part of the advisory process will be eligible to

apply for grant funding; 3. Trial of an online trading portal that aggregates volumes, especially for small agriculture users, and helps reduce unused freight capacity; and 4. Funding to develop initiatives to reduce the transit of empty containers.

This is the initial response to interim recommendations from the Freight Logistics Coordination Team, an independently chaired, industry-led taskforce funded by the Federal Government, and supported by the Tasmanian Government.

“As an island state, Tasmania relies on sea trade. The state’s exporters face complex commercial issues and we are determined to provide support based upon this industry advice,” said Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

“The challenge is to grow volumes and modernise our on-island freight logistics. Labor is doing both.

“This package of measures will help Tasmanian businesses improve freight efficiency. It will also provide supply chain expertise and knowledge to businesses that may be able to generate freight cost improvements simply by doing things differently.

“We’re already providing $100 million to help strengthen and diversify the Tasmanian economy and grow export volumes. This transitional assistance will help make it easier and cheaper for Tasmanian businesses to get their products off-island to the mainland and overseas markets.

“We’re also making a record investment in the state’s road and rail links to support the movement of freight. We’ve almost doubled annual infrastructure spending from $157 to $264 per Tasmanian.

“This includes the $120 million we are providing through this year’s budget to upgrade the state’s freight rail network and port upgrades at Burnie and Bell Bay.”

The Tasmanian Freight Package adds to the record funding being provided for the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme and the Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme. These long-term schemes have been enhanced by Federal Labor since 2007, and remain fully funded under this package.

The Federal and Tasmanian Governments will each contribute $20 million over two years. Both levels of government will expedite this support with funding expected to flow before the end of the year.

The Premier Lara Giddings said the policy was backed by solid research and evidence, in stark contrast to the Liberal Party’s plan.

“The Tasmanian Government has been listening to industry concerns and working very hard to develop a long-term sustainable solution to freight challenges in a challenging economic environment.

“We have always acknowledged that freight is having an impact on exporters and now we have a strategic pathway that provides immediate assistance for exporters and a clear direction for Tasmania’s long-term freight needs.

“The agreement between the Federal and State Labor Governments to jointly fund the $40 million Tasmanian Freight Package recognises that Tasmania is an important part of the national economy and that a combined approach is needed.

“This is just another example of Labor backing Tasmania’s economy and helping our exporters to build jobs and opportunities for the future.”

Tasmanian Infrastructure Minister, David O’Byrne said this solution would make a real difference because it has been developed with the backing of Tasmanian exporters.

“This is recognition of the important work the industry-led Freight Logistics Coordination Team has achieved in taking a detailed and economy-wide look at Tasmania’s freight logistics.

“Underpinned by Tasmania’s Economic Development Plan, it’s the first time in a generation that work of this kind and significance has occurred, and that is why industry has supported it.

“I want to thank the Freight Logistics Coordination Team, and Chairman, Phil Clark, for the dedication and hard-work they have displayed in generating meaningful recommendations in the face of immense pressure.”

The Freight Taskforce’s work will continue, with a focus on port specialisation and land transport. A final report is expected by the end of 2013.

Mr O’Byrne said the $40 million Tasmanian Freight Package also clearly puts into focus the contrast between the Liberals when it comes to freight.

“The Labor solution provides short-term support and a long-term vision to address Tasmania’s freight challenges.

“In comparison, the Liberal solution is to commission a report into the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation and Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Schemes by the Productivity Commission and the ACCC who have already recommended the schemes be scrapped.”


Communications Unit: T 03 8625 5111

Authorised by G. Wright, Australian Labor Party, 5/9 Sydney Avenue, Barton, ACT, 2600