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Chambers urge for Cradle funding
BY ADAM LANGENBERG
THE North-West Coast’s three chambers of commerce and industry have called for the government to give a clearer indication it supports the Cradle Mountain Master Plan in Thursday’s state budget.
Asked for their budget wishlists, Burnie, Devonport and Central Coast chambers said the plan was a terrific initiative for the region, and called on Treasurer Peter Gutwein to unveil funding for it on Thursday .
The calls follow a concerted campaign for funding for the project from the state’s tourism lobby and the Cradle Coast Authority.
Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania CEO Luke Martin previously said he was disappointed enthusiasm for the project had not translated into funding pledges.
Funding for the project is unlikely to be forthcoming in the this year’s budget, despite Treasurer Peter Gutwein and Premier Will Hodgman having indicated strong support for the plan.
The project also requires substantial private investment and federal funding to proceed.
Burnie Chamber vice president Ian Jones identified three other infrastructure priorities for the region, including an upgrade of Mount Road.
“As the start of the journey to the World Heritage Park at Cradle Mountain, it is not very inviting” , Mr Jones said.
Mr Jones also called for a feasibility study on adding a parallel crossing to the Cam River bridge at Somerset.
Devonport Chamber president Stacey Sheehan said the chamber supported state funding of the Devonport Living City project, as well as the Cradle Mountain plan, and any move to upgrade Tarleton Street, the thoroughfare which connects the Spirit of Tasmania terminal and the Bass Highway.
Ms Sheehan supported the government’s plan to establish a fund to replace the Spirit of Tasmania vessels in the early to mid 2020’s , but said that support was contingent on the ferries continuing to operate out of Devonport.
“Any significant increase in length will mean they won't fit in the Mersey River,” Ms Sheehan said.
“We would also welcome further analysis of the Sydney run based on current tourism projections, as this brought an influx of tourists from NSW and Queensland when it operated.”
Central Coast Chamber president Ian Locke called for the North-West to receive regional infrastructure investment broader than “repair and maintenance to existing assets” .
Mr Locke said he would like the budget to contain the true cost of Tasmania’s energy crisis.
Mr Gutwein has said Hydro’s Tasmania’s annual report , rather than the budget, was likely to contain the cost of energy generation measures .
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