Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme

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.

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 2018-2019, the Australian Government provided assistance for approximately 205,735 eligible passenger vehicles under the scheme.

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

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 on behalf of the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities.

The BSPVES is demand-driven and expenditure varies with economic conditions. In 2018–2019 $51.3 million was spent under the scheme.

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Rebate applicable under BSPVES

The following rebates are available from 1 July 2019:

  • Up to $234 each way for a motor car
  • Up to $234 each way for a bus
  • Up to $469 each way for a motor home
  • Up to $469 each way for an eligible passenger vehicle towing a caravan
  • Up to $120 each way for a motorcycle
  • Up to $35 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 2016 and covers the period 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2017 BSPVES monitoring report No. 16.

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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 Shipping Section
Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development

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

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

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

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