Liberal Senator Eric Abetz is putting politics above Tasmania by refusing to support a push to provide free travel on the Spirit of Tasmania.
Labor Member for Braddon Shane Broad said a proposal by the Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania (TICT) could help lift the state out of the COVID-19 economic crisis and should be supported.
“The TICT proposal to consider extending the Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme (BSPVES) to make car trips on the ferry free could be just what our economy needs coming out of the COVID-19 crisis,” Dr Broad said.
“It has Tasmanian Labor’s support, along with the support of the state’s Liberal government, and industry experts see it as a way forward for Tasmania after the massive disruptions caused by the pandemic.
“And yet, Eric Abetz is wavering on the proposal, saying any increase in subsidisation of the BSPVES would need to be carefully analysed.
“The Senator says careful consideration must be given to the ‘unfair advantage given to a government business enterprise with extra taxpayer subsidies over private businesses that have personally invested and are doing it extremely tough without such taxpayer backing,’ even though TT-Line is the sole operator of a Bass Strait passenger service – there are no competitors, private or otherwise.
“Even by Eric Abetz’s standards, this is embarrassing and disingenuous, and his comments show he is completely out of step with his state colleagues in Tasmania.
“Eric Abetz needs to stop and consider who he represents in the Federal Parliament.
Tasmanians must come first and the Senator should get behind this proposal by the TICT and start acting in the best interests of the state instead of playing politics with our future.”
Shane Broad MP
Labor Member for Braddon