Jurisdiction - Australia
Australia – Setting Sail On Tasmanian Shipping Reform.

6 December, 2013


Legal News & Analysis – Asia Pacific – Australia – Shipping, Maritime & Aviation




  • The Productivity Commission will be undertaking an inquiry into Tasmania’s shipping costs and the competitiveness of Tasmania’s freight industry.



  • Interested parties should review the terms of reference and provide any submissions to the Productivity Commission by 13 December 2013.

On 29 November 2013 the Federal Treasurer (Joe Hockey) requested that the Productivity Commission undertake an inquiry into the current arrangements for supporting freight and passenger services between mainland Australia and Tasmania (Inquiry). The terms of reference for the Inquiry can be found here.

The Need For The Inquiry

Due to its geography, Tasmania relies heavily on sea trade. Recently, the high costs associated with transporting goods to Tasmania have resulted in concerns being voiced by Tasmanian businesses and consumers. Tasmanian businesses claim that these transport costs create additional cost burdens for them and as a result this places them at a disadvantage compared to businesses situated on mainland Australia.

The request from the Australian Government for the Inquiry is in response to the concerns raised of disproportionate costs.

Scope Of The Inquiry

The Inquiry will cover:


  • shipping costs, competition and shipping industry competitive structures across Bass Strait;
  • factors inhibiting the provision of international shipping services to Tasmania;
  • the competitiveness of Tasmania’s freight industry, economic infrastructure and possible reforms that would enhance competition, investment and productivity growth; and
  • the merits and weaknesses of the current arrangements for supporting freight and passenger services between the mainland and Tasmania and recommendations on future arrangements and/or alternative mechanisms.

The Productivity Commission will conduct the Inquiry in consultation with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission with a view to informing a broader ‘root and branch’ review of Australia’s competition law framework and will provide broad scope to identify potential areas for competition reforms of benefit to Tasmania.

Next Steps

The Productivity Commission is undertaking a public consultation process which includes holding hearings, inviting public submissions and releasing a draft report to the public.
The key dates and corresponding documents are set out below:


  • Initial submissions – due 13 December 2013
  • Discussion draft report – late January 2014
  • Public hearings – early February 2014
  • Final report to Government – 7 March 2014

Interested parties should review the terms of reference and provide any relevant submissions to the Productivity Commission by 13 December 2013.


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For further information, please contact:


Paul Newman, Partner, Ashurst
[email protected]

Shane Bosma, Ashurst
[email protected]

David Morgans, Ashurst
[email protected]

Yun Ho, Ashurst
[email protected]


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