Monday 28 June 2010

Estimates Committee B (Thorp)

2.3  Fisheries security - State and Australian Government -
Mr FINCH - Minister, I am referring to page 9.4 and table 9.2.  The item - expenditure on fisheries security - concerns the trailerable police vessel replacement program.  The largest figure is over $6 million for the 2012-13 year.  Could I get an explanation of that project, and a timetable for its full implementation?

Ms THORP - The capability of Tasmania Police Marine and Rescue services will be enhanced by the purchase of new vessels and trailers.  The replacement project began in March 2010 and will continue over the next three financial years to 2012-13.  The funding of $800 000 will allow the purchase of six new vessels and trailers, and new trailers for some of the existing fleet.  The funding for the project will be supplemented by the sale of replaced vessels and from the sale of two vessels seized from fishery offenders who engaged in illegal abalone and rock lobster fishing.

Mr FINCH - The full implementation is going to be by 2013-14, or is it ongoing?

Ms THORP - It is 2012-13.  These things are ongoing, but this is an opportunity we have taken, through this budget process, to concentrate on trailerable vessels.  We may find at the end of this project that they are all in pretty top condition, and whilst there will be ongoing maintenance there may not need to be the same focus on this item in the next Budget.

Mr HINE - Yes.

Ms THORP - This should see us pretty right.

Mr FINCH - How many are trailerable? 

Ms THORP - We are getting six new ones with trailers, and new trailers for some of the existing fleet - 38 all up.  Tasmania Police has 38 marine vessels and that includes trailerable vessels and ocean going vessels.

Mr FINCH - Not all trailerable, though?

Ms THORP - No, they have a whole range of different strength and capacity vessels for different activities.

Mr FINCH - Minister, can you apprise me of how much of the vessel replacement work is being awarded to Tasmanian manufacturers?

Ms THORP - We have not got it.  We have a local supplier building the trailers, but as to the advice on the actual vessels themselves, I would need to take that on notice - because it goes through tender.

Mr FINCH - It goes through tender, and so it is open to any manufacturer and producer of those items?

Ms THORP - Yes.

Mr FINCH - Do we have any detail of those successful tenderers and who were doing the replacement?

Ms THORP - It has not happened yet.

Mr FINCH - So, it is up for tender at the moment?

Mr HINE - No, as the money starts flowing next financial year there will be $300 000 available, the following year there will be another $300 000 and the year after that there will be $200 000, so those tenders have not been done yet.

Mr FINCH - Right, okay.

Mr HINE - There are some trailers being done under the Treasury guidelines as the cost is between $10 000 and $100 000.  If we get three quotes over $100 000 for an item, it has to go to full tender.

CHAIR - Why would you build the trailers if you do not have the vessels to put on them?

Ms THORP - Because some of them are replacement for old trailers on existing vessels.

CHAIR - They are not for any of the new vessels, as yet?

Mr HINE - No.  We are reviewing our trailable vessel fleet to make sure the right vessels are in the right spots.  There are a variety of circumstances - we need a review to make sure that we have the right vessel, the right vehicle, the right trailer and the right crew in each location.

Ms THORP - Some things happen almost historically and the boat ends up being used somewhere - communities understandably get very attached.  These sort of things have to be done pretty sensitively to make sure that the community has confidence that the resources in their area are right for them.    

Mr HINE - We are doing the whole review to make sure we have those matters covered off.

Ms THORP - That will be in consultation with the fishing industry and other interested bodies, so that they have their input.

Mr FINCH - That is my last question on marine vessels - I am going to move onto something else.