Calls to protect freight scheme

Moves are underway to secure the future of the Bass Strait Freight Equalisation Scheme after a landmark ruling in the High Court.

Last week, the court ruled that the federal chaplaincy program was unconstitutional because it exceeded the Commonwealth's funding powers.

There are now concerns the freight scheme could be challenged on the same grounds because it was never legislated.

Neither major party can say for certain if the scheme will face the same fate but agree it needs to be protected.

Liberal spokesman Richard Colbeck says the Government needs to work fast to safeguard the scheme from any possible challenges.

"Let's take that risk away, let's not put ourselves in that situation," he said.

Labor Senator Lisa Singh says she will seek advice from the Attorney-General.

"I'm not aware, at this point in time, whether that scheme would create a High Court challenge," she said.

The Bell Bay Industry group's Bob Gozzi is confident it will not be challenged, but it wants the scheme reviewed.

"We'll be attempting to get the scheme secured and we're also trying to get a full inquiry into the scheme," he said.

"We're also trying to get all the relevant parties around the table to say 'look, we want to get rid of the uncertainty'.

"There's already uncertainty around the carbon tax and other cost issues.

"We want to get certainty going forward and that's what we'll be attempting to do."

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