Investing in Northern Tasmania

*Speech delivered in the Senate Monday 18th March 2024.

It grinds my gears when we have opportunities to bring money into northern Tasmania when instead we’re watching it sail away to the mainland or internationally.

Southern Marine ShipLift operates at Kings Wharf in Invermay. It’s a massive dock where companies from across Australia send their ships to be serviced. Everything happens there, from a fresh lick of paint to full ship repairs.

Ships can be at Kings Wharf anywhere from two weeks to 10 weeks while the work is being done. And ships usually send their crews along to help with the repairs. So for those two weeks or 10 weeks, companies are paying for their crews to sleep in accommodation in Launnie and eat at our cafes and restaurants. Lucky them!

The current ship lift can only accommodate one ship at a time, so if there’s a ship booked in for 10 weeks and another ship has an emergency, well, that’s too bad for the ship with the emergency. Southern Marine ShipLift is turning work away because of their limited capacity. This means that instead of companies sending their ships and crews to Tasmania, they’re sending them off to the mainland.

Even worse, some are heading off to international waters. That’s money lining the pockets of people in Singapore when it could be flowing through Tassie. Imagine if that money were going through George Town or through Launnie. It would be more money for Southern Marine ShipLift to employ apprentices and to help with our skills shortage gap. It would mean the struggling coffee shop on the corner could stay open, knowing they’ll have steady business year-round. And accommodation providers would be certain of bookings during the winter.

Southern Marine ShipLift has a plan to make this happen. They want a new site with equipment which could service two or three ships at once. To kick all this off they need funding for a feasibility study. It’s a very, very small amount of money that could lead to a massive investment in northern Tasmania. And I think that’s what I’m asking for—a little bit of an investment!

Authorised by Tammy Tyrrell, Jacqui Lambie Network, Launceston, Tasmania 7249

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