Coalition Rushes Freight Enquiry

The Commonwealth must extend the period for receipt of submissions to the Federal Government’s Bass Strait Freight Equalisation inquiry after allowing stakeholders less than a fortnight to prepare their case for the Productivity Commission.
Senator Helen Polley has pointed out that this Review, flagged during the election campaign, will do nothing to help immediate concerns surrounding freight costs over Bass Strait.
“The previous Labor Government was committed to delivering $25 million before Christmas – that’s real support for industries here in Tasmania to help with freight issues. The Coalition promised a review and now we’re finding out they want to cut stakeholders out of the discussion process,” Senator Polley said.
The Productivity Commission Review into Freight and Passenger Services is calling for written submissions with a deadline of 13 December. This gives affected parties only a week to put together a written submission – not enough time for many of these stakeholders to adequately put forward their case.
“We have already been contacted by stakeholders irate at the Coalition’s sneakiness on this issue. They are expecting stakeholders to be able to present a viable case to the Commission in a short period of time, at a time of year where most have a number of other pressing concerns.
“Not only that, but as far as I am aware, there will only be two meetings to discuss these issues, one in Hobart and one here in Launceston,” Senator Polley said.
Senator Polley called on the new Member for Bass, Andrew Nikolic, and the entire Abbott Government to get serious about Bass Strait freight.
“There is a $40 million package that Labor announced – with $25 million to be delivered before Christmas – that the Federal Government could roll out immediately to start assisting Tasmanian industries.  Instead we’re getting a Clayton’s Review. I’m sure we all remember what the last Productivity Commission Review suggested, that’s a complete end to subsidies across the Strait. 
“Is that what Andrew Nikolic wants for Tassie freight?”