In attempting to defend his Government’s botching of the Spirit of Tasmania replacement, Michael Ferguson has thrown the tourism industry overboard.
Labor Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Shane Broad, said independent economic analysis by Saul Eslake found delaying the replacement of the Spirit of Tasmania vessels would cost $350 million a year.
“That analysis was based on the TT-Line’s own demand forecasts. In recent months the tourism industry, including Tourism Tasmania, have talked up a rapid snap back in tourist demand, particularly in drive tourism,” Dr Broad said.
“That confidence is critical to supporting jobs and investment, particularly in my electorate of Braddon.
“In attempting to dismiss Mr Eslake’s analysis, Michael Ferguson has talked down the recovery of the tourism industry, suggesting that increased capacity will not be taken up in the short to medium term.
“Extraordinarily, Mr Ferguson has impugned the independence and expertise of one of Australia’s most respected economists. He has also revealed that he doesn’t think that tourism demand is going to bounce back any time soon.
“Michael Ferguson has displayed a blatant disregard for jobs and confidence in the tourism industry in an attempt to defend his reckless decision to delay replacement of the Spirit of Tasmania vessels until 2028.
“Labor has always supported creating Tasmanian jobs in the construction of the new Spirits – that’s what the Liberals have been promising since 2017. What we don’t support is delaying this critical project until 2028, which Saul Eslake has said could cost the tourism industry alone $2.5 billion.”
Shane Broad, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure