Pressure to reduce Bass Strait travel costs

SUPPORTERS of improved sea access to Tasmania expect State Parliament to consider a resolution on the matter soon as business leaders are being recruited to lobby for the cause.

Devonport Mayor Steve Martin said yesterday that a two-day lobbying trip to Canberra last week produced good results.

Alderman Martin said the group of concerned citizens lobbied Liberal, Labor, Greens and independent MPs and transport bureaucrats for improved links between Tasmania and Victoria.

He said the cost of travelling between Tasmania and Victoria should be the same as travelling between Sydney and Melbourne.

Alderman Martin said the high cost of moving people and freight across Bass Strait was holding back Tasmania's development.

He said the existing freight equalisation scheme was not the answer, as it did not cover all passengers and freight and presented difficulties for exporters.

He expected Federal Parliament to consider a resolution before the May budget to reduce the cost of Bass Strait travel.

And he said he expected another delegation to go to Canberra within the next two months to lobby, and he invited any interested business leaders to join the delegation.

Alderman Martin said federation was supposed to link the states equally but Tasmania was not on the same playing field, so it was time to rectify a century-old injustice.

"If Bass Strait is treated as a link and becomes part of the national highway, then we have not got a problem," he said.

"Now [with a federal election in September] is the ideal time to have a discussion."

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