Get on with buying new boat: police

Rene Hidding has been told to ``get on with it''.

Rene Hidding has been told to ``get on with it''.

The state government has been urged to ``get on with it'' after announcing a replacement to the trouble plagued PV Fortescue police vessel was still years away. 

The Police Association of Tasmania welcomed the $5 million the government pledged yesterday for a new large boat but said the procurement shouldn't take two years. 

Only 10 per cent of the total amount will be in this year's budget to be announced next week. 

 ``We will allocate up to $500,000 ... to undertake preliminary investigations and commence the acquisition process,'' Police Minister Rene Hidding said yesterday. 

``Advice and expertise will be sourced from independent specialists to mitigate the risks of the project.''

The vessel will replace the almost $2 million debacle that was the PV Fortescue  which rarely got wet because of a risk deemed "significant and intolerable" during a parliamentary inquiry. 

Engine trouble on the PV Fortescue made it unsafe for use as a rescue vessel at sea. It was sold for $250,000  - $50,000 less than the government had hoped for - earlier this month.  

Association president Pat Allen said Tasmania Police had four boats on its books but only three were in active service.

“Of the three, one is 43 years old, another 30 years old and the ‘newest’ is 18 years old,'' he said.  

“They need to get independent advice and buy a new boat … it shouldn’t take two years.'' 

Mr Hidding said the new vessel was expected to be at least 23 metres long  and, like the PV Van Diemen, operate up to 200 nautical miles off the Tasmanian coast in all conditions.

``Her primary roles will be to respond to life-threatening incidents at sea and to protect our fisheries,'' he said. 

Tasmania has 4500km of coastline – excluding Matsuyker Island.

Traditionally, one large police vessel has been stationed in the North at Beauty Point and another in the South in Hobart. 

``Since the Fortescue was taken out of service, Tasmania Police has had to rely on the old Vigilant to take up some of the duties,' Mr Allen said. 

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