King Island ship high on state government agenda


Infrastructure minister says the state government will play a role, but is loath to subsidise a new service

King Island ship high on state government agenda
Tasmanian infrastructure minister Rene Hidding

 

The Tasmanian Government views finding a permanent replacement service for King Island freight as a "priority", infrastructure minister Rene Hidding says.

The SeaRoad Mersey, which plies a route between King Island and Burnie is due to be taken out of service next year.

SeaRoad says it is not going to replace the ship or the route.

Hidding says that doesn’t mean the route is unprofitable.

"It is the Government’s intention to see a commercial solution to King Island shipping needs for the foreseeable future, ideally without any taxpayers’ subsidy or support," he says, noting that discussions are continuing with the King Island governing council.

Still, one potential alternative doesn’t appear to be finding favour with the state government. LD Shipping, run by Launceston ship owner Les Dick, is planning a King Island service as soon as adjustments can be made at one of Tasmania’s northern ports.

Dick says TasPorts has accepted the need for changes to its wharves at Stanley and Devonport, but has yet to act on it.

"Tasports has made a decision to put a berth in, but we are still waiting for that to happen," he says.

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