INFRASTRUCTURE Minister David O'Byrne said yesterday he had met and consulted widely with freight logistics stakeholders to restore international freight services.
Mr O'Byrne was responding to claims he had refused to discuss private enterprise ideas to plug the gap left by the loss of the regular Bell Bay international service until he received the findings of a report by the Tasmanian Freight Logistics Co-ordination Team.
Mr O'Byrne said the government had been working through the problem with key stakeholders and businesses in a ``thorough and considered way''.
``It is vital to understand the full range of views and the complexities of the freight logistics challenges we face and they are being considered by the industry-led Tasmanian Freight Logistics Co-ordination Team,'' Mr O'Byrne said.
Yesterday The Examiner published details of the soon-to-be-released report, revealing that it would not offer immediate solutions to the rising cost of international freight. Mr O'Byrne said he would discuss the report in coming weeks, and took aim at the Liberals' plan to implement a joint productivity commission and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission review into Bass Strait shipping.
``This half-baked plan by the state Liberals for international shipping would cater for less than one third of Tasmanian exporters,'' Mr O'Byrne said.
But Bass Liberal candidate Andrew Nikolic said his party was the biggest supporter of freight, having introduced the Freight Equalisation Scheme and Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme.
``It is disgraceful that David O'Byrne should be giving anyone lectures about freight equalisation, because as we saw today his plan is to consider a proposal some time in future where they may or may not take action,'' Mr Nikolic said. ``Within the first six months of an elected Liberal government, we will do a joint productivity commission . . . which will specifically look at the efficiency, effectiveness and equity of the schemes.''