No reason why Hobart should be left off the AusLink Map

The Southern Tasmanian Councils Authority (STCA) has ramped up its campaign for the AusLink Network in Tasmania to be extended to include the Brooker Highway into Hobart and the Tasman Highway to the Hobart International Airport.

In releasing its submission on the Commonwealth Government’s draft AusLink Tasmanian Corridor Strategy, Chair of the STCA, and Lord Mayor of Hobart, Ald Rob Valentine, was today joined by the Mayor of Clarence, Ald Jock Campbell and the Mayor of Glenorchy, Ald Adriana Taylor, to highlight the importance of this issue to the whole Southern Tasmania region.

Ald Valentine said the STCA submission emphasises the significant strategic importance of the Brooker and Tasman Highways to Tasmania.

‘The Brooker and Tasman Highways are the busiest roads in Tasmania and are expected to remain that way for at least the next twenty-five years,’ Ald Valentine said.

‘But more important than this, is the vital role both Highways play in linking Tasmania with the rest of Australia and the world, through the Hobart International Airport and the Port of Hobart.

‘The Hobart International Airport is the major air-link between Tasmania and the rest of Australia with 58% of people currently entering and exiting the State using this airport.

‘The Port of Hobart is also of immense strategic importance to Tasmania as the most accessible and safest deep-water port in the State.’

Ald Valentine said the airport and seaport were obviously extremely critical to Hobart’s status as the national and international gateway to the Antarctic territories.

‘It is vitally important that both these Highways are maintained at a high standard to ensure Hobart attracts further investment and opportunities around our unique position as the World’s gateway to the Antarctic region.’ he said.

The STCA submission identifies the Broker Highway as the region’s most strategic freight route connecting Southern Tasmania to the Northern Tasmanian ports, including Burnie, Devonport and Bell Bay.

‘Massive volumes of produce are transported in and out of Southern Tasmania on the Brooker Highway every day,’ Ald Valentine said.

‘It is the main arterial link through the City and is critically important to our local economy and community.

‘It is also likely to require a major upgrade in the future to ensure it has capacity for the expected growth in daily passenger and freight vehicle movements.’

Ald Valentine said that by including the Brooker and Tasman Highways in the AusLink Network, it would mean that Commonwealth funding can be accessed to ensure the Highways are upgraded to a national standard.

‘Currently the State Government is entirely responsible for the maintenance and upgrading of both the Brooker and Tasman Highways.

‘And while we don’t want to be accused of trying to pass-the-buck between State and Federal Governments, there is simply no denying that under the strict legislative criteria for AusLink, these roads should form part of the national AusLink network.

‘If they are not made part of the AusLink Network, we have genuine concerns about the capacity of the Tasmanian Government to fund the future upgrades necessary to ensure these critical Highways are maintained at an appropriate standard.’

Ald Valentine said the STCA submission’s to the Tasmanian Corridor Strategy would now form part of the Southern Council’s “Fair Go For Our Roads” campaign in the lead-up to this year’s Federal Election.

This campaign is calling on both the Federal Government and the Labor Opposition to commit to the long overdue upgrading of the northern approaches to Hobart, as well as extending the AusLink Network in Tasmania to include both the Brooker Highway to Hobart and the Tasman Highway to the Hobart International Airport.

‘The strategic importance of these roads to Tasmania is obvious and there is absolutely no reason why they should not be part of the AusLink network,’ Ald Valentine said.

Download the Auslink Submission July 2007 [PDF 1.3Mb ]