NORTHERN Tasmania is not likely to see the federal share of $40 million for exporters promised by former Labor Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in the dying days of the election campaign.
State Infrastructure Minister David O'Byrne said this week he had written to new federal Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss seeking a meeting with him and assurance that the money would be ``forthcoming immediately.''
Mr Albanese announced the $40 million, two-year, freight package as a joint federal-state venture that was supposed to see money start to flow before the end of the year to exporters to make them more freight efficient.
It was sold as Labor's short term solution to the state's two-year-old international sea freight crisis to provide some immediate relief, while the government-initiated Tasmanian Freight Logistics Coordination Team worked on a long-term plan.
The announcement came after months of waiting for the release of the freight logistics team's interim report, which Mr O'Byrne had promised would kick start action before Christmas to solve the state's expensive sea freight problems.
A spokesman for Mr Truss said yesterday his office had received Mr O'Byrne's request for a meeting and assurance on the funding.
But he also reconfirmed the federal government would go ahead with its own pre-election promise to conduct a joint Productivity Commission and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission review of Tasmania's shipping costs.
The review will also look at the competitiveness of the state's freight industry structures and economic infrastructure, the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme and the Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme. The spokesman said the review would be completed within six months.
``These issues will be considered as part of the review process and it would be premature to make any decision in advance of this,'' he said.
In a surprise for Tasmanian industry, Mr O'Byrne also confirmed this week the long-awaited freight logistics team interim report has already been released.
Mr O'Byrne said it had been endorsed by all members of the team at their meeting last month and had been publicly available on the Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources since then.