THE Liberal Party has called on the state government to adopt its $33 million freight pledge to restore international shipping services to Tasmania.
However, Infrastructure Minister David O'Byrne said the Liberals must not have talked to parties involved to find out what they thought of the pledge.
The opposition announced this month that it would provide $33 million over three years to partner with industry and ensure the reintroduction of an affordable international shipping service to key Asian ports.
Opposition infrastructure spokesman Rene Hidding yesterday called for Mr O'Byrne to adopt the Liberals' plan.
"If he won't do that, the minister must secure a short-term fix of another $20 million in compensation funding for exporters, when (Prime Minister Kevin) Rudd is in Tasmania next week," Mr Hidding said.
Mr O'Byrne said the people he had spoken to "said if you give $33 million to international shippers, they'll just put it straight in their back pockets".
"But we will work very closely with the industry to make sure we get a long-term solution and the cheapest possible cost for freighting for Tasmania," Mr O'Byrne said.Mr Hidding said every year without an international service was costing exporters up to $40 million.
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