More detail on Bass Strait ferry build

·2-min read

The first of two new Bass Strait ferries could be sailing from late 2023 after the Tasmanian government announced more details around a deal with a Finnish shipbuilder.

The state Liberal government in July paused a contract with Finland's Rauma Marine Constructions in a bid to look for Australian shipbuilding capabilities.

It was revealed in March that the government would renegotiate the original $850 million deal with the company but push for local components to be included.

Premier Peter Gutwein on Wednesday announced up to $100 million of Tasmanian content would be used in the ships' construction.

"The new contract provides for the vessels to be delivered in late 2023 and late 2024," he said on the campaign trail ahead of a May 1 state election.

Mr Gutwein said the deal was at the same price as before but $30 million lower than anticipated.

TT-Line, the state-owned company that operates the Spirit of Tasmania service, said the current ships would be replaced as soon as practical

"We are very pleased that the government agreed with TT-Line's original position that two steel monohull vessels are the right approach for the Bass Strait run," chairman Michael Grainger said.

The Labor state opposition said the government was now back to square one.

"This is a premier and a government that has a history of getting crucial, important infrastructure projects stuck at the pretty picture stage," MP Shane Broad said in a statement.

Mr Gutwein defended the government's decision.

"With a purchase of this size it was important to test whether or not there was the opportunity for (Australian) jobs to be created as a result of it," he said.

He said the ships' design would be the same as what was proposed in the initial Rauma Marine Constructions contract.