You are here

Infrastructure and Transport – Derwent Ferries

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Tags: Ferries, Infrastructure

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, the ferries across the Derwent are very welcome. It is something the Greens have called for for years, so it is good to see they have started. I think it is fair to say there has been very poor coordination between the Government and the Clarence City Council in relation to the infrastructure needed to really make them function properly. I am talking here about the ferry wharfs, the car park and line facilities, or just straight car parking, and an integrated public transport timetable. Can you tell me what the state Government will be providing in terms of that infrastructure and what the Clarence City Council is expected to pick up for the ratepayers on the eastern shore? I am talking about the wharfs and parking facilities essentially.

Mr FERGUSON - I don't wish to be discourteous to you, Dr Woodruff, but we had a fairly extensive discussion prior to morning tea in relation to the Derwent ferries, but I am happy to refer you to my answers there as well as answer you in respect of future engagement with Clarence City Council.

I would put the view that the Government and Clarence City Council had a really good engagement together on this project, together with Hobart City Council. I can only speak well of all of those parties and I believe they speak well of us as well, as the engagement has been really effective. Earlier today I indicated that the funding in the state Budget will allow us to commit to an ongoing locking-in of the Bellerive Hobart ferry, to improve a floating pontoon and better facilities for bad weather and amenity for passengers, particularly on the Bellerive side. I also indicated that with the federal government's commitment for expanding the Derwent ferry service it is in a way a bonus set of funding that we can now work with the federal government to bring in that new resource to expand ferry offerings in new locations.

As for a car park, I think history has shown us that while many people would love to have a car park at Bellerive, there would be very interesting arguments about whether that is a suitable use of valuable real estate and taxpayer money to park the car there all day just so you can catch a ferry to Hobart. Yet people have nonetheless voted with their feet with a 550 daily average number of people catching the ferry without the proposed or suggested car park, so those who said we were setting it up to fail were proven quite incorrect.

I am not saying no or never. What I am saying is that we will work with all of the councils on priorities and make sure that they are value assessed, with the limited funds that we have to achieve the best possible growth outcomes going forward, noting that we want to see innovation in mobility, and encouraging people to find new ways to make their journey, particularly during peak times, so that we can relieve congestion. That's why we've provided incentives around cycling, e-scooters, as part of the model of standing up the Bellerive service and testing demand. Those conversations will now get richer because we've got a security around the Bellerive-Hobart ferry, and the opportunity to look to new routes. In closing, I will again commend you to my earlier comments about this where I talked about the framework that the Government has developed. We've shared that now with the councils. It provides the basis upon which new proposals can come forward and allow the very best of those to be selected on a merit system.

Dr WOODRUFF - Thank you. I understand that you would probably want to expand the take-up of the ferry service. I wouldn't expect you'd imagine that it's capped at the current levels of 550 a day. It's fantastic that many people are finding a carpark in the surrounding streets, but I can assure you the feedback from residents is that they are fully saturated and clogged, so that nobody else is able to take opportunities for parking. It's having flow-on effects. Yes, it's a problem. What are you doing to solve it with the Clarence City Council? Otherwise it's such a wasted opportunity, and it does need a direct involvement from the state Government to take responsibility, as well as the council.

Mr FERGUSON - I think my answer will be what I said earlier, and that is that we work with our Hobart City Deal partners, in particular local government. They bring their solutions to the solutions, we bring our solutions to the table, and we work together to create new ferry opportunities. I'm certainly not going to micro-manage what infrastructure should be in place at different locations, whether it's Bellerive or other proposals. But I think that's the nature of the way that we've made Bellerive ferry a success.

One thing I'm sorry, I didn't address in my earlier answer was your question about integrating with Metro bus timetables. That's an opportunity for further work as well, given that the Bellerive service now has permanency going forward. If we can make improvements that would make it more convenient or the timeliness of the Metro schedules working in with the schedule for the Derwent ferry, that's something that I'm open to as well, as is Metro.