Today’s announcement by TT-Line that it has entered into exclusive negotiations with a German shipyard to build the replacement Spirits of Tasmania is an affirmation of the success of the Hodgman Liberal Government’s policy on the vessels.
This Liberal majority Government came to office with a policy to increase the number of visitors coming to Tasmania via the Spirits and the result has even exceeded our own expectations, with a 31.5 per cent increase in passengers in just four years.
Accordingly, TT-Line has brought forward its vessel replacement project by two years following the Government’s strategy, which has seen a comprehensive refurbishment of the interiors of the vessels, a 15 per cent real reduction in average fare prices and more than doubling the frequency of day sailings.
The success of our policy has boosted TT-Line profits and dividends, which are being locked away to replace the Spirits with much larger roll-on, roll-off vessels, to cater for growth in passenger demand for decades to come.
It took a majority Hodgman Liberal Government to bring the best out of the Spirits and we are now working with TT-Line to plan their replacement through our special Sub-Committee of Cabinet.
Labor opposed the refurbishment of the Spirits, they criticised our policy to reduce average fare prices and they voted against our Vessel Replacement Fund, which locks away the increasing profits to pay for the replacement.
Today’s announcement of a deal between TT-Line and the Flensburg shipyard is an exciting milestone of which we can be very proud.
I congratulate the company Board, its executive, the crew and shore staff on their delivery of our policy with such great success.