HODGMAN MUST STAND HIDDING ASIDE OVER KING ISLAND SHIPPING FIASCO
12 May 2017
JUSTINE KEAY MP
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR BRADDON
SHANE BROAD MP
STATE LABOR MEMBER FOR BRADDON
The time has come for the Premier to stand down Infrastructure Minister Rene Hidding for his bungled handling of King Island shipping.
“Rene Hidding’s statement from last week that the “cost of transporting a vehicle from Grassy to the mainland remain largely unchanged” has been proven to be a lie,” Federal Member for Braddon Justine Keay said.
“Mr Hidding stated the cost of transporting a vehicle up to 5.55 metres was $646.00.
“My office has been contacted by a King Island constituent who has provided me with documentation from Bass Island Line showing the real cost for a 5.5 metre vehicle is $881.01.
“This is a 37% increase in price from what the Minister said.
“Other documents provided by the constituent show twelve months ago, the cost for transporting the identical vehicle on the SeaRoad service was $468.11, compared to Bass Island Line’s price of $881.01.
“This represents a massive cost increase of 88% between the two services which makes a mockery of the Ministers claim that costs remain largely unchanged.
“Mr Hidding has been caught out being dishonest to the community and it is time the Premier stood him down and relieved him of his responsibility for the infrastructure portfolio.”
State Member for Braddon Shane Broad said a six point plan released by the Government this morning would do very little to solve the various issues caused by the interim arrangements.
“All along Mr Hidding has been denying there is a problem and now he’s finally worked it out he’s scratched together a plan without talking to the community,” Dr Broad said.
“The Minister can’t even get it right how many times the Investigator will service King Island.
“Rene Hidding promised three sailings a week, but for the first four days of next week, only one sailing is scheduled.
“He has also misled parliament telling the House on May 4 that “freight costs are largely unchanged” and the Investigator “is doing three services a week”
“How can he possibly say that delivery of urgently needed fertiliser supplies, freight and general cargo to the island will meet known customer demand if the vessel is not sailing?
“I have also received advice directly from the two major fertiliser suppliers stating that they have combined 166 containers of product to ship to the island that they are struggling to get into the system and at least another 22 that they can’t risk signing contracts for.
“Combined with the farcical situation of pubs and clubs running out of beer it is clear the Minister has lost control.
Justine Keay said Will Hodgman has form dodging bad news and difficult issues.
“To date the Premier has not even responded to an invitation to visit King Island,” Ms Keay said.
“It is time he stepped up to the plate, relieved Rene Hidding of his infrastructure portfolio responsibilities and took charge.”