Published: 15 November 2023

Legislative Council, Thursday 16 November 2023


With regard to the Summary report on the findings from the Tasmanian economic regulator’s inquiry into Bass Island Line’s pricing policies was released in August and noting:

  • the significant financial losses made by Bass Island Line since its inceptions;
  • comments made by the Minister and TasPorts that have indicated there is no commercial shipping organisation that is suitable to provide the service to King Island, which is required;
  • Eastern Line Shipping, which also provides shipping service to the island, has had meetings with TasPorts, Bass Island Line, and the Minister with regard to the capacity of this company to provide the service but has not received a response explaining why this company is unsuitable to deliver this service; and
  • Eastern Line Shipping met with representatives from the Economic Regulator's office during the inquiry including disclosure of the company finances whereby the company uses similar pricing costs as Bass Island Line and is profitable.

My questions are:

  1. Does the Minister acknowledge the ongoing financial losses related to Bass Island Line could be avoided through the engagement of an economically viable service; and
  2. Will the Minister and TasPorts undertake further talks with Eastern Line Shipping with regard to their capacity to deliver an economically viable service?


  • TasPorts has on at least two separate occasions (from 2019 until 2021), attempted to identify via an Expression of Interest process an alternative private owner who could continue to manage the service. On both occasions the process has yielded a negative result, following evaluation of a combination of underwhelming offers which largely represented higher cost and risk for government.
  • TasPorts remains open to discussing and assessing the commercial feasibility of an alternative operating service model and commercial arrangement for BIL which may result in TasPorts executing a transaction in relation to BIL, noting that TasPorts will ensure that all discussions and communications regarding any potential transaction will comply with all relevant competition laws, including the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth).


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