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Statement by Senator Ian Macdonald, Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government, regarding his meeting with the National Sea Highway Committee on Wednesday 11th August 1999.



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Media Release

Senator the Hon Ian Macdonald

Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government

 

12 August 1999

 

Statement by Senator Ian Macdonald, Minister for Regional

Services, Territories and Local Government, regarding his

meeting wit h the National Sea Highway Committee on

Wednesday 11 th August 1999

 

Yesterday I met with representatives of the National Sea Highway Committee to respond to a submission which they presented to me on 27th April 1999.

 

The Committee had indicated in a previ ous meeting that the current scheme could be made more effective within the same budget allocation. My Department’s assessment of that submission indicated that what was being proposed could not be achieved without an outlay of around $60 million which is far in excess of the approximately $15 million, currently made available for the Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme.

 

The Committee then submitted a further proposal for an alternative fast catamaran service between Stony Point and Northern Tasmania. In presenting their written proposal, the Committee indicated to me that a fast passenger service could be provided that would allow for increasing number of travellers across Bass Strait at about the same cost as the present subsidised cost under the Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme.

 

Their submission is lengthy and my Department is assessing its contents and projections and will report back to me as soon as possible on the feasibility of the new proposal within current budget parameters.

 

Dependent upon that assessment, it would be appropriate to arrange a further meeting with the Committee and the Tasmanian Government and some of my Tasmanian colleagues later in the year.

 

I congratulate the Committee on its enthusiasm and its efforts in working with the Government to attempt to find a more efficient and productive way of reaching the Governments goals within current budget parameters.

 

I am proud of the fact that it has been Coalition Governments that have introduced both the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme and the Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme. I look forward to continuing to work with Tasmanian representatives who strive for better outcomes for Tasmanians.

 

 

 

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

Telephone; (02) 6277 7060

Facsimile; (02) 6273 7112

Email: MinRegion@dot.gov.au

 

 

md 1999-08-13  09:41