Global carrier key priority

ATTRACTING an international carrier back to the Bell Bay port will be a priority for the newly established Freight Logistics Co-ordination Team, Infrastructure Minister David O'Byrne says.

Mr O'Byrne announced the 19-member team yesterday, which was chosen from 40 expressions of interest, would be chaired by Phil Clark - a former Minter Ellison managing partner and chief executive and the current Tasmanian Infrastructure Advisory Council chairman.

``We've assembled a well-qualified team that represents rail, port and infrastructure providers, as well as shippers and producers,'' Mr O'Byrne said.

``The team will provide expert logistics and supply chain advice, and help us complete a long-term Tasmanian freight strategy.''

He said he was expecting to receive recommendations within months.

``Nothing is off the table . . .  changes to the freight equalisation scheme to government assistance packages for exporters to looking at the shipping options out of Tasmania and into Tasmania, looking at how we can lift volumes north and south - all of these issues will be considered by the group.''

Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Neil MacKinnon, a member of the team, said it would complement the chamber's Freight and Transport Logistics Committee.

``I think that both of us have the same objective and I'm sure that we will be able to work very well together,'' he said.

Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association chief executive Jan Davis, also a member of the team, said freight was a huge concern for farmers.

``One of the biggest issues affecting farming in Tasmania is the cost of getting our input materials to the state and the cost of getting our products out of the state so freight comes at the top of that list for farmers,'' she said.

Ms Davis said the new team was an opportunity for all affected industries to work together to help solve the state's freight problems.

She said without improvements, growth in agriculture as a result of new irrigation schemes and investment in dairy would not reach the level expected by government and farmers.

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