Murchison MLC Ruth Forrest has repeated recent calls she made in Parliament for the Government to take a long term view to find a workable solution for King Island shipping services in light of more evidence interim solution is inadequate.
“A reliable shipping service is essential for King Island and the Government have failed to take timely action and provide a solution to shipping services on King Island” Ms Forrest said.
Last week Ms Forrest called on the State Government to work with the Federal Government to find a long-term solution to provide a reliable shipping service for King Island.
“It is clear that the current ‘interim solution’ proposed by the Government will not meet the needs of King Island” Ms Forrest said.
This lack of suitability of the interim replacement vessel has already been demonstrated before the vessel has even arrived in King Island.
“The interim solution – the Investigator, a 52 metre vessel, with an open deck and an average speed of six knots, has already be forced to shelter in 15 knot winds. With winds often in excess of 15 knots in Bass Strait, how will this ship reliably service King Island, especially on the expected three sailings per week?” Ms Forrest asked.
“If the current conditions are too challenging, progress through the commonly heavier conditions off the coast of King Island may make berthing impossible more often than not as winter approaches” Ms Forrest said.
“The Government is failing to do is take a long-term view of solutions for Bass Strait transport of freight and people” Ms Forrest stated.
“This is the sort of long term, intergeneration infrastructure investment Governments, both State and Federal, should be willing to borrow funds for, especially at a time when borrowing rates are very low, to provide essential infrastructure assets for the State” Ms Forrest said.
“With considered investment in long-term assets on both the Bass Strait Islands, other shipping operators may well be attracted to service these areas leaving the State and Government Businesses to get back to their core business not running a shipping service themselves,” Ms Forrest suggested.
23 March, 2017