Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

15 March 2020

Peter Gutwein, Premier & Minister for Tourism

Cruise ships suspended: Tasmanians health and wellbeing comes first

There is nothing more important than the health and wellbeing of Tasmanians.

While the risk to the public of coronavirus remains low, we want to take all precautionary action to manage the situation proactively, and keep people safe.

As a further measure as from later today, I am directing Tasports to suspend all cruise ship visits to our ports until 30 June, at which point we will undertake a review of the current situation.

A small domestic cruise vessel, carrying 43 mainly domestic passengers which home ports at Hobart during the cruise ship season, and has been in Tasmanian waters since 31 December 2019, will make a final call to Hobart Port this afternoon to refuel and re-provision.  No passengers will disembark and it will depart later today.

This is not a decision I make lightly, and one which has been done in careful consultation with senior members of our State Emergency Management Committee, Tasports and the tourism industry.

While I know this places challenges on our tourism industry and visitor economy, I strongly believe we must act to make the decisions that best protect Tasmanians and help to manage COVID-19 risks to our state.

There are 12 scheduled cruise ship visits during this period, five to Hobart, five to Burnie and two to Port Arthur. The cruise industry has been notified of our decision to suspend these port stops.

We are in uncharted territory, and these are uncertain times.  Which is why we must act based on advice using the levers available to us to protect Tasmanians.

I want to reassure Tasmanians that we will do all we can to maintain a level of economic stimulus and support business and Tasmanians. Yet, like the rest of the country and other nations, we will not be without impact.

This week we will announce a Tasmanian Response Package, following last week’s Federal stimulus support for business.

I would like to acknowledge the cruise industry, which is a major contributor to our visitor economy, supporting hundreds of jobs across our state.

While this is a difficult decision, Tasmania looks forward to welcoming our cruise visitors back to our state as soon as it is the right time to do so.

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