Lambie slams Bass Strait ‘transport cost crisis’ response

Palmer United Party senator uses maiden speech to demand action on unfair treatment

Lambie slams Bass Strait ‘transport cost crisis’ response
Jacquie Lambie says strait transport costs are a national disgrace


Palmer United Party (PUP) senator Jacquie Lambie has highlighted Bass Strait logistics costs as a central issue in her maiden speech in Parliament.

Lambie blamed the extra costs for holding the island-state’s progress to ransom.

Echoing themes raised for more than a decade by cross-strait transport support advocate Peter Brohier, who chaired the former Committee for Bass Strait Transport Equality and the National Sea Highway Committee, Lambie emphasised and took other Tasmanian senators to task for ignoring what she described as "this outrageous, stinking, filthy injustice".

"If Tasmania is to be treated fairly as a state of Australia, the cost of transporting both domestic and international-bound goods in containers — machinery, food, fuel — between Hobart and Melbourne should be no more than the cost of transporting a container on a semitrailer between Melbourne and Wagga Wagga on the Hume Highway," she says.

"If we are to be treated fairly as a state, the cost of people taking their cars, motorhomes, campervans, caravans, motorbikes, greyhounds or racehorses — or unicorns — from Devonport to Melbourne, or vice versa, should be no more than the cost of driving the 327 kilometres of national highway from Melbourne to Albury.

"The distance between the Victorian state border and the Tasmanian state border must be treated by policymakers, premiers and prime ministers as a national highway.

"They are not treating it like a national highway. The cost of surface travel for the distance between Tasmania and the Australian mainland is a national disgrace — not a national highway. It is time to fix this issue."

After State and Federal examinations of the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme (TFES), which both advocated reform, Lambie indicated her support for it to be raised by $200 million per annum.

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