A SEA HIGHWAY THAT CAN CONTRIBUTE NATIONALLY
It is clear that the Federal Government’s National Highway Network has played an enormous role in establishing ‘one national economy’ as it readily provides taxpayer funded land-based access between all mainland capital cities and significant regional towns by highway and rail.
Obviously, there can be no land-based highway between Tasmania and the mainland, but the lack of a land bridge should not lead to Tasmania suffering economic disadvantage because of its geography and the significantly higher cost of traversing the 420kms across Bass Strait.
The movement of product, people and service between Devonport (TAS) and the Port of Melbourne (VIC) should cost the same as travelling the national road highway or by rail on mainland Australia over the equivalent distance.
Bass Strait needs to be recognised as part of the national highway system.
The Federal Government needs to acknowledge that current transport costs across Bass Strait are disproportionately expensive and consequently a disincentive to the movement of people and freight
The Federal Government needs to further extend the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme to include the affordable movement of all: -
- People and freight in and out of Tasmania; and
- Trade intended for both domestic and international import and export
“Tasmania must reach self-sustainability to contribute to the national cake and it can only do this if equitably joined up to the national highway system. Not being adequately connected up, relatively disadvantages our producers, exporters, services, tourists and the people of Tasmania through the rising cost of living.”
“Bass Strait could contribute to the national highway if the Federal Government equalised the cost of moving all people, vehicles and container freight to the cost of road travel over the same 420km distance on the mainland,’ said Mayor Martin.
“Tasmania would then become logistically competitive with land based transport; cheaper southbound consumables would lessen the cost of living burden; business investment would be more attractive and at known cost - eventually delivering faster economic growth and increased employment.”
“We are talking about measured across the board and consistent funding that would progressively reduce Tasmania’s dependency on government spending and subsidies; lessen reliance on welfare payments; and create value-adding opportunity,’ said Mayor Martin.
“Instead of paying out to a weak state economy, the Federal Government should concentrate on broadening the competitive movement of product and services activity and recouping its investment further down the track. It stands to reason that relatively inflated and variable fares over Bass Strait are a major barrier to entry to Tasmania in so many economically important ways” he said.
“The Federal government recognised this competitive disadvantage in 1976 when it first did something about it. Let’s finish it off!!”