Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme

On this page you will find information about the:

1. Purpose of the Scheme

The Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme (BSPVES) was introduced in September 1996.

The scheme assists in alleviating the cost of sea travel across Bass Strait for passengers accompanying an eligible vehicle. It assists with the cost associated with the transportation of passenger vehicles interstate across Bass Strait.

In 2012–2013, the Australian Government provided assistance for 142,987 eligible vehicles under the scheme.

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2. Administration

The scheme is administered in accordance with Ministerial Directions issued in June 2008, as amended by the Secretary effective from 12 June 2014.

All claims for payment of the rebate under the scheme are assessed in accordance with the Ministerial Directions, and processed by the Department of Human Services' Hobart office on behalf of the Department.

The scheme is demand driven and uncapped with no upper limit to the total annual payment. In 2012–13, the Australian Government spent $34.5 million under the scheme.

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3. The Rebate

The following rebates are available from 1 July 2014:

  • Up to $210 each way for cars
  • Up to $420 each way for motor homes
  • Up to $420 each way for eligible vehicles towing a caravan
  • Up to $106 each way for motorcycles
  • Up to $30 each way for bicycles

The rebates are reviewed annually.

The rebate is provided to the driver of an eligible passenger vehicle in the form of a reduced fare charged by a service operator. Accordingly, the service operator is not the recipient of the rebate, but is reimbursed on a monthly basis by the Australian Government for the total rebate provided to eligible passengers under the scheme.

Eligible drivers with a medical condition are able to access the reduced passenger vehicle fare available under the scheme if they travel on a commercial airline service between either:

  • Melbourne and Devonport or
  • a place on the Australian mainland and King Island or the islands of the Furneaux Group. 

Their vehicle must be carried in the same direction of travel on a Bass Strait ferry service on or about the same day of travel.

The scheme is also available to eligible drivers who must fly between mainland Australia and King Island or the islands of the Furneaux Group in the absence of a passenger ferry service between the islands and mainland Australia.

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4. Monitoring Reports

In accordance with the Ministerial Directions, the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) is required to monitor the effectiveness of the Scheme.

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5. Further Information

All enquiries concerning eligible vehicle bookings and level of fares applied under the scheme should be directed to the relevant ferry operator.

Prospective ferry operators seeking information on BSPVES and other associated administrative matters should contact:

Tasmanian Transport Programs
Department of Human Services
GPO Box 1269,
HOBART TAS 7001,
FreeCALL: 1800 993 347,
Fax: (03) 6222 2149,
Email: tfes.support@humanservices.gov.au.

More information is found at the Department of Human Services' BSPVES webpage.

The Department of Human Services undertakes the delivery of the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme, the Tasmanian Wheat Freight Scheme and the BSPVES on behalf of the Department.

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