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Ferguson’s dud boat costs taxpayers another $3.3 million

  • Boat cost more than $10 million then out of service for months
  • Repairs added $3.3 million to bill for taxpayers
  • Effort to recover funds may end up in court

Michael Ferguson has provided further evidence today of why he cannot be trusted to keep any seafaring vessel on course, revealing that repairs to troubled King Island boat the John Duigan have cost Tasmanian taxpayers further millions.

Shadow Infrastructure Minister Shane Broad said the vessel – built in Malaysia two years ago and purchased by the government at a cost of more than $10 million – promptly broke down twice soon after going into service because it struggles to handle the conditions on Bass Strait.

Dr Broad said it had been revealed in Government Business Enterprise scrutiny hearings today that the John Duigan’s two trips to dry dock for repairs and its months out of service had left taxpayers with a bill of $3.3 million.

“This is yet another shipping disaster with Michael Ferguson’s fingerprints all over it,” Dr Broad said.

“This government – and this Minister – have badly let down not only Tasmanian taxpayers with a dud boat, but King Island residents who have been forced to suffer for years as their concerns have fallen on deaf ears.

“Mr Ferguson and the government still appear willing to experiment on Bass Strait with a vessel that’s not fit for the tough conditions.

“Today we also discovered that Mr Ferguson and the government are now in dispute with the boat’s insurers so the cost for its repairs may either end up in court or never be recouped.

“The Liberal’s mishandling of this whole mess proves they can’t be trusted to handle Bass Strait shipping.”

Shane Broad MP
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure