Premier Peter Gutwein has revealed the cost to taxpayers of a report into the replacement of the Spirit of Tasmania ferries - and the figure has prompted Labor to question his judgment.
In State Parliament today, Mr Gutwein, answering a question from Opposition Leader Rebecca White, said the vessel replacement taskforce's report had cost $146,000.
It came after the government released the report on Monday, and announced it had decided to go against the taskforce's advice and instead adopt TT-Line's original plan of having two new steel monohull vessels built in Finland.
TT-Line signed a memorandum of understanding with Finnish shipbuilder Rauma Marine Constructions for the manufacturing of the new Spirits in February last year.
Five months later, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government established the taskforce to explore opportunities for all or parts of the ships to be built in Australia.
Now, the government is turning its attention back to TT-Line's preferred option, but this time it's aiming for $50-100 million of local content to be part of the manufacturing process, which it says will provide an employment boost in Tasmania.
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Labor infrastructure spokesman Shane Broad said the Premier should be "ashamed of himself for wasting ... taxpayers' money in the embarassing fiasco to replace the Spirit of Tasmania vessels".
"After a delay of almost a year, Peter Gutwein today revealed in parliament that he spent $146,000 of taxpayers' money on a report he completely ignored when he backflipped right back to square one - announcing the ships will be built in Finland after all," Dr Broad said.
Peter Gutwein has turned the replacement of the Spirit of Tasmania vessels into an absolute farce.- Shane Broad, Labor infrastructure spokesman
"The Premier has managed to bitterly disappoint local shipbuilders and delayed the delivery of additional capacity on Bass Strait by at least two years - which will ultimately cost the state jobs.
"This ridiculous episode has seriously called into question the Premier's judgement, and his government's ability to deliver major infrastructure projects."
But Mr Gutwein accused Labor of being hypocritical, pointing out that it had called for the replacement vessels to be built in Finland all along.
"For six months, Ms White and Shane Broad have been crusading to have the ships built in Finland with no attempt to increase local goods and services in the project," he said.
"They have run a relentlessly negative campaign against our sensible work in exploring opportunities to increase Tasmanian jobs and investment, and at a time when we need them most.
"Now, there's an opportunity for the ships to be delivered with between $50 million to $100 million of local goods and services, supporting jobs here in Tasmania.
"This is up from $16 million in the original MoU, and incredibly Ms White and [Dr] Broad are still against it."
The Premier said if an agreement with RMC was reached within 30 days, the new ships would be available within 12 months of the original MoU "but with a significantly bigger portion of the jobs and investment here in Tasmania".
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