Brown progresses talks on freight equalisation for Tasmania
Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown has had further discussions with senior officials of the Gillard Government in pursuit of freight equalisation, seeking practical measures to aid Tasmanian businesses in response to concerns brought to his attention by business owners.
"The Greens, in response to business owners, have proposed that the federal Government equalise freight and passenger subsidies for Bass Strait to link Tasmania to the national highway system," Senator Brown said today in Canberra.
"At present, freight subsidisation benefits some imports into Tasmania but not exports. This problem has been exacerbated by the closure of direct shipping from Tasmania to Asia.
"We need a level playing field with other states so Tasmanian businesses can make the most of the Australian market. The proposal we have discussed also seeks to equalise the subsidies for passenger travel so people can move between Tasmania and other states at a lower, consistent cost," Senator Brown said.
As Peter Brohier, chairman of the former Committee for Bass Strait Transport Equality and the National Sea Highway Committee, has said in reference to the Greens' initiative and practical approach to the needs of the Tasmanian business community: "This would allow Tasmania to participate in the common wealth of Australia by properly and fairly connecting Tasmania to the rest of Australia."