Export Assistance to Support Tasmanian Jobs Thu 6 September 2012 David O'Byrne Minister for Infrastructure Tasmanian exporters have now received formal assistance offers under the $14.5-million Tasmanian Shipping Transition Assistance Fund. The fund is part of the Australian Government's one-off $20 million assistance package to help Tasmanian exporters reach international markets. The Infrastructure Minister, David O'Byrne, said all 36 fund applicants have been found to be eligible for assistance, after an assessment by the Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources (DIER). "This fund came about after more than six months of committed work with local industry and the Federal Government," Mr O'Byrne said. "It recognises the intense pressure on Tasmanian exporters from the high Australian dollar, and the loss of the state's only international container service because of market changes. "Those factors are beyond the control of exporters or Governments. "But as Labor Governments, we won't leave industry and workers at the mercy of those broader market factors. "We know exporters need immediate help, and we've instigated this short-term assistance package to support Tasmanian industry and jobs. "As a State Government, we're also continuing to work on a long-term strategy with Infrastructure Australia," he said. Eligible applicants for the fund cover a wide range of export industries - including metal products, plastic products, primary produce (like vegetables), dairy, meat, fish products, timber, and skins and hides. In total, applicants under the Fund exported more than 30,000 full, twenty-foot-equivalent containers (TEUs) in the period from May 1st 2011 to April 30th 2012. There were two categories of grant funding available: 1) Shipping transition assistance to exporters which used the AAA international container service from Bell Bay in the six-months leading-up prior to its termination; and 2) Assistance for other Tasmanian exporters, to support their ongoing competitiveness in international markets. The full list of eligible applicants is available on DIER's website: www.dier.tas.gov.au/shippingfund While offers have been made, payment of grants is still subject to eligible applicants agreeing to the funding's specific terms and conditions. Once the formal documentation is in order, DIER will process payments as quickly as possible.