However, there won’t be any change in the immediate future with any new contract to kick in after long-term operator SeaLink Travel Group’s current contract expires in July 2024.
SeaLink, the South Australian company which has been operating the service from Cape Jervis to Penneshaw since 1989, says it will compete to win the tender.
Transport Minister Stephan Knoll said today the Government had decided to subject the service to a competitive tender process to “ensure that we get the best deal for the people of South Australia, particularly the locals who use the service so frequently”.
“Kangaroo Island is one of the jewels in the crown of South Australia’s tourism industry and we want to ensure we have the best service possible for tourists and locals to get on and off the island,” he said.
“SeaLink provide a valuable service to the Island, local community and tourists alike.”
SeaLink told the ASX today that it welcomed the decision because it had been seeking certainty about the future of the service to underpin investment in both vessels and South Australia more broadly.
“We welcome the Government’s decision to move the process forward and provide clarity to SeaLink, its shareholders and the 370 staff we employ in South Australia,” SeaLink said in a statement.
SeaLink chief executive and managing director Jeff Ellison confirmed to InDaily that the company would seek to win the new contract.
“We would like to get that clarity so we can invest in new vessels,” he said. “From our perspective, it’s something we have been pursuing clarity on for two years.”
He said whatever happens with the tender, SeaLink would continue to provide the ferry services to the Island for the next five years.
SeaLink’s operations include ferry and other services in Sydney, Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia. In June this year, it won a competitive tender to operate the Bruny Island ferry service in Tasmania.
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