Inquiry to determine shipping contribution to King Island price-setting

Michael Ferguson, Treasurer

Bass Island Line, a wholly-owned subsidiary of TasPorts, continues to provide a reliable service to King Island and customers have responded with a doubling of freight volumes following the changes made to the service in March 2022.

However, the Tasmanian Government acknowledges ongoing concern by King Islanders with regards to high retail prices of goods on the Island, in comparison with mainland Tasmania.

As Treasurer, I intend to commission an independent inquiry into matters around Bass Island Line’s pricing policies under the Economic Regulator Act 2009.

Recognising the importance of establishing confidence in the Bass Island Line service, it is considered that an inquiry into matters affecting the company’s pricing policies would assist in addressing concerns with regard to its role in the market.

After more than five years operating in a competitive, commercial market, with both positive and negative feedback circulating, it is timely that a Prescribed Bodies Inquiry is held into Bass Island Line pricing policies. The Government takes the view that current pricing policies be tested in an independent and objective manner.

An independent inquiry will allow prices and costs to be examined at arm’s length from Bass Island Line, its parent company TasPorts and the Government.

The inquiry’s findings will inform future planning for King Island shipping services.

Terms of reference will be prepared for the Inquiry with a completion date to be determined as part of that work, expected to be mid-2023.

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