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The privatisation of the King Island ferry service: Emerging issues and challenges

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House, A and Fanam, PD 2019 , 'The privatisation of the King Island ferry service: Emerging issues and challenges', in National Committee for Coastal and Ocean Engineering (eds.), Proceedings of the Australasian Coasts & Ports 2019 Conference , Engineers Australia, Hobart, Australia, pp. 1-6 .

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Abstract

This paper aims to analyse the challenges facing the privatisation of the King Island ferry service in theAustralian island state of Tasmania. As has been well documented, the socio-economic impact of asustainable and reliable ferry service is imperative to the survival and prosperity of the King Islandcommunity. After the departure of the SeaRoad Mersey service in 2016, the Tasmanian Government wasrequired to step in to provide a transport service, through TasPorts subsidiary Bass Island Line. The findingsof this paper have revealed that after many iterative improvements, the service is now adequately meetingthe needs of its customers.However, Bass Island Line since its incorporation has been operating at a loss, with research suggestingthat it will continue to do so into the foreseeable future. The advantage of private-sector involvement isunderstood to increase financial and operational efficiencies, however, the current freight market andstagnant economic outlook for King Island were discovered to be deterring investment for potential investors.The result is a service that will likely require continued Government support, whether it is privatised or not,this paper suggested that for the service to be sustainable into the future, it is imperative the TasmanianGovernment has continued stakeholder collaboration. This leaves the Tasmanian Government in a positionto deliver on its mission of maximising the social benefit to the community of King Island. However, it is wellunderstood that public-sector governance is more often than not inefficient; not to mention it deviates fromthe trend toward privatisation of ports and maritime services.

Item Type: Conference Publication
Authors/Creators:House, A and Fanam, PD
Keywords: privatisation, ferry service, King Island, Ro-Ro service, freight market
Journal or Publication Title: Proceedings of the Australasian Coasts & Ports 2019 Conference
Publisher: Engineers Australia
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