Tasmanian Government and Port Welshpool back fodder shipment

Sheep Central, May 8, 2024

The Eastern Line Shipping Company’s King Islander will ship the fodder at cost for Need for Feed to the King Island farmers.

KING Island farmers are expected to receive sorely needed drought fodder from the Lions charity Need for Feed by 19 May after the Port of Welshpool was finalised as the shipment’s Victorian departure point.

The Tasmanian Liberal Government said it has stepped in to bring the much-needed stock feed languishing on the mainland to farmers on King Island via South Gippsland’s Port of Welshpool.

Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff announced the operators of Port Welshpool, Gippsland Ports, had been secured to help bring hundreds of hay bales across the strait.

“This is an extremely pleasing result for our farmers, and I extend my sincere thanks to the Port Welshpool community for working with my government to deliver for King Island,” he said.

The government has been working around the clock to find a resolution for the King Island farmers after the Colac Otway Shire Council pulled out of talks, the Premier said.

“Unfortunately, the decision of the Colac council has added additional time and cost to what should have been a simple task, but a commitment to helping our farmers from both Tasmania and the mainland has seen us come to a good solution.”

Ian Sauer, president of Tasmania’s peak body Tasfarmers commended the Premier Jeremy Rockliff, Jane Howlett, Minister for Primary Industry and Water, and the Premier’s department for resolving the stand-off with the Colac Otway Shire Council.

However, Mr Sauer expressed dismay at the necessity for the alternative measures.

“It’s outrageous that it has come to this, but this news will give some confidence to King Island farmers and the Lions Club charity Need for Feed, who have been advocating for (the shipment of the) much-needed fodder from Apollo Bay.”

Mr Sauer said it was not known if either the Tasmanian or Victorian governments would provide any financial assistance to Need for Feed for the fodder shipment – 500-plus tonnes of fodder and 200 tonnes of cattle pellets – but there have been high-level discussions between the governments.

“Certainly our state government and the department has worked very hard on this and there has been a very high degree of frustration with the Colac Otway Shire Council.”

He said it was galling for the council to say it was supporting a bid to find transport options to deliver the much-needed shipment, but denied access to its Apollo Bay port after an independent engineering report assessed that freight movements of the shipment’s scale present risks to the port’s infrastructure and operations.

“It has just added more cost, more complexity; however, we’re getting the feed over there, that’s the main thing and well done to Need for Feed, I mean what a cracking job they’ve done.”

Need for Feed founder Graham Cockerell said he expected the fodder to be loaded for shipment to King Island on May 18. Need for Feed posted on Facebook yesterday that Eastern Line Shipping owner Warren Dick has offered us the charter of their vessel, the King Islander, at cost, to shift the 700 tonnes of hay and cattle pellets from the mainland to King Island in one hit.

“He very generously, and we know at great expense, is bringing the boat empty to Port Welshpool so that we have the best chance of getting all of our precious cargo over there in a timely manner.
“Not only that, we have a loading and sailing date for Saturday May 18th. locked in with both Gippsland Ports at Port Welshpool and TasPorts at Grassy on King Island,” Need for Feed posted.
Mr Dick said the fodder and pellets will be shipped on 18 May on the King Islander, arriving at Grassy 14-18 hours later on 19 May. He said the Port of Welshpool has also waived all channel and wharfage costs for the shipment.


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  1. Margaret Attrill, May 9, 2024

    Thanks to everyone involved with making this happen. Where there’s a will , there’s a way.
    Aside from this……and not really relevant…does the King Islander take paying passengers?

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