Minister for Infrastructure Rene Hidding said a $40 million dividend from TT-Line will be the first injection into a newly created Vessel Replacement Fund.Cash to replace the Spirit of Tasmania I and II by the mid 2020s will begin to flow into a newly created Vessel Replacement Fund this financial year.
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Minister for Infrastructure Rene Hidding said a $40 million dividend fromTT-Line will be the first injection into the fund, with another $40 million from a second expected dividendin 2017-18.

“It’s unlikely that TT Line would solely fund two new ships, however that’s an open argument because the value of the replacement hasnot yet been establishedand it could be wide and varying,” he said.

Mr Hidding said the fund would be protected by specific legislation to future proof the Spirit replacements.

“Essentially it will bind future governments from raidingthat [fund]that will be building up to that time for other purposes,” he said.

But Labor leader Bryan Green said the state government hascost Tasmanian taxpayers tens of millions of dollars by deliberately delaying the replacement of the Spirits of Tasmania for the next decade.

“By any fair reading of the situation, the optimum time to sell the existing Spirits would have been over the next two years if they were to achieve any real value,” hesaid.

“Tasmanians would have been millions of dollars better off if the government had not delayed the replacement process and instead spent more than $30 million on refurbishing the ships.”

The Spiritswere builtin Finland in 1998, and have been used as ferries between Melbourne and Devonport since 2002.

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