Spirits remain under cloud of uncertainty

Tasmanian Labor
  • Another
    Ferguson failure
  • Liberals
    admitted in 2018 no Australian shipyards could build new Spirits
  • Rubbery
    commitment to Tasmanian jobs
  • Infrastructure
    Minister Michael Ferguson has been left red faced by his government’s own
    admission that no Australian ship yards could build the new Spirit of Tasmania
    vessels.

    Labor
    Shadow Minister for Infrastructure Shane Broad said it was concerning that the
    Minister could not state how many Tasmanian jobs would be created as a result
    of the decision to delay the Spirit of Tasmania replacement until 2028.

    In fact, the Liberal Government’s own promotional material from 2018 suggests Tasmanian jobs will be put at risk as a result of constrained growth in the tourism and high-value agriculture and aquaculture industries.

    “It was bad
    enough that the Liberals broke their promise to have two new vessels operating
    on Bass Strait by 2021 but now Michael Ferguson can’t even answer basic
    questions about his plans,” Dr Broad said.

    “At a time
    when the tourism industry and freight companies need certainty, Michael
    Ferguson failed to explain what Australian ship builder has the capacity to
    build the new ships or how many Tasmanian jobs would be created if they do go
    ahead.

    “If the
    government doesn’t have this information, it must explain why it ignored the expert
    advice of the TT-Line Board and sacrificed jobs that could have been created by
    expediting the vessels’ construction.

    “Even more
    concerning, Mr Ferguson refused to even commit to the two new monohull ships
    promised by the government before the last election

    “Without
    this commitment, we can’t even be sure that the existing Spirits will be
    replaced with an adequate service, even though modelling has previously shown
    the growth expected in freight and tourism is reliant on new ships with
    increased capacity.

    “This government needs to stop hiding behind COVID-19 and spell out its plans to give tourism and freight companies the certainty they need and deserve, and to get on with creating jobs for Tasmanians.”

    Shane Broad

    Shadow Minister for Infrastructure

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