TASMANIAN businesses can apply for $25 million government money by Christmas to make them more export ready as Labor's immediate solution to the state's international shipping freight issues.
Federal Infrastructure Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was in Northern Tasmania at 7.30am today to announce the much-anticipated government answer to international exporters struggling with exorbitant freight costs since the loss of a regular sea service two years ago.
Mr Albanese said that investing money into businesses rather than directly into a new shipping service made long term sense.
``The challenge is to grow volumes and modernise our on-island freight logistics,'' Mr Albanese said.
``This package of measures will help Tasmanian businesses improve freight efficiency.''
Mr Albanese said that money spent directly on a shipping service would be wasted as the freight problem would remain when the funding ran out.
The $37.5 million over two years for export businesses will be joint state and federal funding with the first $25 million available on application by the end of the year.
The government-appointed Tasmanian Freight Logistics Coordination Team chairman Phil Clark, who was at the early morning announcement, welcomed the initial funding.
It was less than half the $100 million over four years that Mr Clark had recommended in his interim report to government to go to exporters to help them with increased freight costs while the freight logistics team came up with long-term solutions.