Abbott says Victoria ripping off Tassie exporters

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has criticised the Port of Melbourne fee hike which could devastate Tasmanian exporters.

As the ABC reports, fees at the port are expected to rise by 800 per cent. According to stevedoring companies this would equate to $200 per container.

The issue was raised in parliament on Thursday by Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie.

"Prime Minister will your government intervene and the bring the shysters in Victoria to heel?" Wilkie asked.

Responding that he shared Wlikie’s dismay, Abbott said, "The Victorian Labor Government is slugging the exporters of Tasmania that's the only way to describe it, the Victorian Labor Government is penalising the exporters of Tasmania."

There are fears the high costs will undo the benefits of the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme which exists to help Tasmanian exporters who face higher freight costs than their mainland counterparts.

In March, the Federal Government increased funding for the scheme by $203 million over four years. This represented an increase of more than 40 per cent over the previous funding.

Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Abbott challenged federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to call Victorian Labor Premier Daniel Andrews and tell him to stop ripping off Tasmanian exporters.

Image: Rigzone