The Launceston Chamber of Commerce has taken an active role in determining how to overcome the impediments of freight costs on doing business in Launceston and the region. The Chamber’s Infrastructure Committee has met with five different companies and freight experts over the past six months, as well as written to the Minister for Infrastructure, The Hon David O’Byrne regarding the future of Bell Bay Port. Maree Tetlow the Executive Officer at Launceston Chamber of Commerce advised that “there was some mixed advice regarding what is best for Launceston and Northern Tasmania when it comes to freight options as there are differing views and agendas at play. This is all the more reason that we are looking forward to reviewing the State Government’s Freight Logistics Coordination Team’s advice to government when it is released in August. Minister David O’Byrne has also agreed to brief the Chamber Board on the issue next month”. In the meantime, the Launceston Chamber of Commerce have agreed on freight priorities to lobby State and Federal governments on behalf of the business community, including:
- Support the expansion and further investment into Bell Bay Port to ensure that it can more efficiently handle export container freight.
- Support the current Freight Equalisation Scheme – but with more long-term certainty in terms of its ongoing funding which it is hoped will encourage additional private investment. In addition, the Chamber asks that the scheme be extended to include exports.
- Investigate how to standardise container sizes to better cater to export size requirements and reduce the need for re-packing containers between different markets.
- Investigate alternative Australian ports other than Melbourne to avoid the additional levy’s being applied by the Victorian Government on Tasmanian freight.