The government's decision to reopen negotiations with a European shipbuilder on the construction of two new Spirit of Tasmania vessels has been warmly welcomed by the state's key tourism industry group.
This option was one of three presented to the government by a taskforce appointed to investigate how the national and state industrial workforce could best benefit from the project.
TT-Line last year had recommended a contract be signed with Finnish shipbuilder RMC before the government decided to appoint a taskforce.
IN OTHER NEWS:
The taskforce after six months returned with three proposals for consideration in a final report which the government released on Monday.
- construction of two large steel monohull ferries in an overseas shipyard with involvement from an Australian shipyard and Tasmanian businesses;
- assessment of the viability of large aluminium multihull vessels with the intention of commissioning work from Tasmanian company Incat for their construction;
- selection of an overseas shipbuilder to build two steel monohull vessels.
Under a previous memorandum of understanding signed between RMC and TT-Line, there would be at least $16 million in Tasmanian content used in the $850 million project.
Premier Peter Gutwein said there would now be a push for up to $100 million of local content to be included in the build.
This will be a factor in negotiations to take place with the shipbuilder over the next 30 days.
Part of these negotiations will involve a deadline for the Spirits to be delivered by 2023-24.
If an agreement is not reached, the project will go to the open market.
The report also highlighted "some significant risks" under the third option, including that the selected shipbuilder may not fulfill the contract due to financial difficulties.
Tourism Industry Association Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin said now it was time to get the job done and ensure the new ships were on the Mersey River in a few years.
He said he understood why Mr Gutwein took the action he did in August when the state's economy was hanging off a cliff due to economic impacts from the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Martin said the new ships, with a 40-per-cent increase in capacity, would see business investment and confidence spike as had been proven through the delivery of the original vessels.
Labor's infrastructure spokesman Shane Broad said the government's rhetoric over job creation in the state's manufacturing industry through the project's reassessment had been exposed as a cruel hoax.
Incat released a statement which said its 500-strong workforce was deeply disappointed by the government's decision.
"Incat will take this decision on the chin, and continue our many years of successfully delivering vessels to all other parts of the world," it said.