On 23 August 2019, the Australian Government announced a number of improvements to the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme (TFES) to modernise its operation and enhance its efficiency and effectiveness.
The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (the department), along with Services Australia (formerly the Department of Human Services) as delivery agency for TFES, have begun work on implementing four improvements to the Scheme:
- The department will review the policy on the eligibility of imported goods under the Southbound component of the Scheme. The review will assess the possibility of additional funding for imports, where there is no Australian-made equivalent and to ensure that any unintended consequences can be addressed to avoid negative impacts on Tasmanian businesses. The review on imports is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
- The department is reviewing TFES assistance for shippers of high density goods to align high density goods with other goods and better reflect freight rates charged. The Australian Government is aiming to increase the rate of assistance for high density goods from 60% to 100% before the end of 2019.
- The Australian Government has confirmed that the expanded component of TFES (assistance for goods transshipped at mainland ports) is an ongoing element under the Scheme. This will ensure that the funding for the expanded component will be permanent, providing certainty for Tasmanian business to plan and expand now and into the future.
- Services Australia is working to reduce the time it takes for TFES claims that have been correctly submitted with all supporting documentation to be assessed and paid, from 35 days to 30 days. Services Australia is and will continue to make extensive efforts to process claims as quickly as possible noting that the claims can be complex. Claimants are encouraged to submit all their supporting documentation at time of lodgment to ensure their claim can be accepted for processing.
The department and Services Australia are committed to ensuring that these changes to TFES are implemented in a seamless manner. However, we recognise that there may be some challenges in the next couple of months while Services Australia realign its delivery processes and systems under the Scheme to the new policy.
We ask for the patience and cooperation of TFES claimants and claims agents while we collectively navigate through this transition period.
The department will be providing further information to claimants and other key stakeholders to communicate any changes to eligibility and lodgment requirements, and to provide support through the transition processes to implement the changes to the Scheme.
If you have any queries concerning the Ministerial announcement, please contact the department at:
Tasmanian and Shipping Programs Section
Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications
GPO BOX 594
Canberra ACT 2601
For media enquiries relating to the TFES changes, please contact Media Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 1300 732 749.