Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme

The Hon Michael McCormack, MP Deputy Prime Minister announced today, 7 January 2021 that the Australian Government is introducing a temporary increased rebate for eligible passenger vehicle travel across Bass Strait under the Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme. The temporary rebate applies to travel occurring during 1 March 2021 to 30 June 2021 or up to $6 million worth—which ever comes first.

This measure represents a strong opportunity for a stimulus to benefit the Tasmanian economy to assist in its recovery from the effect of COVID-19. The revised Ministerial Directions will be published on this web page shortly.

Please contact your preferred service operator for more information on the higher temporary rebate.

On this page you will find information about the:

Purpose of the Scheme

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

The BSPVES aims to reduce the cost of seagoing travel between the mainland and Tasmania, by providing a rebate for the transportation of an eligible passenger vehicle across Bass Strait. In 2019-2020, the Australian Government provided assistance for approximately 161,474 eligible passenger vehicles under the scheme.

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The BSPVES is administered in accordance with Ministerial Directions approved by the responsible Minister on 1 September 2002, as amended from time to time.

All claims for payment of the rebate under the scheme are assessed and paid by Services Australia on behalf of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications.

The BSPVES is demand-driven and expenditure varies with economic conditions. In 2019–2020 approximately $40.8 million was spent under the scheme.

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Rebate applicable under BSPVES

The following rebates are available from 1 July 2020:

  • Up to $239 each way for a motor car
  • Up to $239 each way for a bus
  • Up to $480 each way for a motor home
  • Up to $480 each way for an eligible passenger vehicle towing a caravan
  • Up to $123 each way for a motorcycle
  • Up to $36 each way for a bicycle

The rebates are reviewed annually.

The rebate is provided to the driver of an eligible passenger vehicle, in the majority of cases, in the form of a reduced fare charged by a service operator. The amount of rebate paid is limited to the ferry operator's vehicle fare for that particular type of passenger vehicle if the fare is below the applicable rebate shown above.

The service operator is not the recipient of the rebate and is reimbursed on a monthly basis by the Australian Government for the total rebate provided to eligible passengers or persons under the scheme.

Eligible persons with a medical condition are able to access the rebate for eligible passenger vehicles under the BSPVES. To receive a rebate they must 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 passenger vehicle must be carried in the same direction of travel on a Bass Strait ferry service on or about the same day they are travelling by air.

The scheme is also available to eligible persons who have to take a flight between mainland Australia and King Island or the islands of the Furneaux Group due to the absence of a ferry service between the islands and mainland Australia.

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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.

The BITRE's latest monitoring report was released in January 2020 and covers the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2019 BSPVES monitoring report no.17.

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Further information

All enquiries concerning eligible passenger vehicle bookings and rebates applied under the scheme should be directed to the relevant ferry operator.

Prospective ferry operators seeking information on BSPVES should contact:

Tasmanian and Shipping Programs Section
Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications

Requests for information on service delivery matters should be directed to:

Tasmanian Transport Programs
Services Australia
GPO Box 1269
Phone: 13 11 58
Fax: (03) 6211 2719

More information is found at the Services Australia's BSPVES web site.

Our Client Service Charter outlines Service Standards and provides information on how to provide feedback on our Services. We are subject to the Privacy Act 1988 and personal information is only collected or used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme - Privacy Statement

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (the department) collects personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) for the purpose of making and reviewing decisions under the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme and the Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme.

Personal information collected may be:

  • used by the department,
  • disclosed to third parties (e.g. other government agencies),
  • disclosed when required, or authorised by law, and
  • used for another purpose with your consent.

Collected information may be published on the department's website. Published information will be aggregated and will not disclose personal information.

For information about how you can access your personal information held by the department, seek corrections or complain about a privacy breach, please refer to the department's Privacy Policy.

If you have any questions, please contact the Privacy Officer.

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