Infrastructure Minister Michael Ferguson is at the helm of a rudderless ship with no answers on when Tasmania will take delivery of the critically needed replacement Spirit of Tasmania vessels.
Shadow Infrastructure Minister Shane Broad said it was now abundantly clear after today’s Government Business Enterprise scrutiny hearings that Mr Ferguson had no timelines for delivery of the new vessels, no idea of where or when they would be built and little concept of the urgency required as Tasmania’s tourism industry continues to bounce back from the COVID pandemic.
“The fact is the Spirits are booked solid throughout December – tourists want to come into Tasmania and we need the new vessels now,” Dr Broad said.
“But what we heard this morning is the government still can’t give us any idea on how long this whole process is going to take or how long the delay for the new vessels coming into the state will be.
“Michael Ferguson will receive the advice of his task force in January but the ships are full to capacity right now.
“Alarmingly, Michael Ferguson can’t say where or when the ships will be built and delivered.”
Dr Broad said it was clear there is a massive divide between the Government and the TT-Line board, which has not changed its view on the best ships for Bass Strait.
“The TT-Line board is proceeding with designing ramps and a fit-out in Geelong as if their original plan is still in place. They are proceeding because nobody has told them not to.
“We need urgent action but instead, we have a Minister in charge of the largest infrastructure project in recent history who is content to dilly dally and every year he delays – as economist Saul Eslake found – is going to cost the state $350 million and stop the creation of 6,000 jobs.”
Shane Broad MP
Shadow Infrastructure Minister