Keith Pitt MP Federal Member for HINKLER

Adjournment Debate - Great things happening in Hervey Bay

Mr PITT (Hinkler): Given that it's the last speech of the night, we might finish on a lighter note. Mr Speaker, you may not be aware that, in November this year in the town of Hervey Bay in Central Queensland, in that wonderful location just on the inside of Fraser Island, where the whales come to rest and where there are lots of things to see and do, we will have the A-class catamaran national titles and world titles—the world's sailing titles in a Central Queensland town. It is an outstanding opportunity, Mr Speaker, and I invite you to join us. If you aren't doing anything in November, jump in your panel van and drive up from Victoria. It will be lovely weather up there in Hervey Bay and you can come and see the world titles.

Fraser Coast Regional Council received some $54,000 from the Building Better Regions Fund to help with the running of these titles. Councillor Darren Everard said that there had already been more than 100 enquiries about the Sail Hervey Bay A-Class World Championships. They've already drawn entrants from the United States, Europe, South America and New Zealand, as well as significant interstate entries.

What this is also about, Mr Speaker, as I am sure you know, is jobs and our economy. This will bring lots of people to our local region. There are some 1,400 spectators anticipated, and it is expected that that will inject some $1.5 million into our economy. But they shouldn't do it alone. I think everyone who is listening to this broadcast should get in their car, get in a plane or get on their bike and get up to Hervey Bay to see the world titles, because this is something that is pretty unique. It is very rare. It is in a Central Queensland town in a rural location—but it's in one of the best locations in the world to sail, in the calm waters of Hervey Bay. You can also go and see Fraser Island. The whales will just have left—they close out about October—but there are still opportunities there.

We are expected to attract about 120 catamarans and 240 visitors and 3.5 people per boat. It's expected that 98 per cent of these visitors will stay in commercial accommodation—an additional 5,904 bed nights. That's great news for accommodation operators coming out of the back of the whale season. In whale season, Hervey Bay is chockers with people—because that's where you want to go if you want to see whales in action. But it's not just about the accommodation; it's a great place to eat, a great place to get around and it's great for tourists. You should absolutely take that opportunity, Mr Speaker. I can see you nodding. You are absolutely interested!

Of course, locally, in Hervey Bay, there's lots going on in the local community. In fact, the Wide Bay AFL organisation at Keith Dunn Oval received $150,000 for a lighting upgrade during the 2016 election campaign. The season kicks off next month. This is great for them, because in the winter months it gets dark at five o'clock and it was very difficult to train. It is a fantastic upgrade for them, and it is something that they had been working on for a decade—10 years of work for a $150,000 upgrade, donated by us. I think it is just fantastic for them. It will allow them to train in safety and increase opportunities for night games, and it is essential for health and fitness. It is great to see them out there running around—even though they are playing that very strange game. It is very popular in Victoria and other places, but it is a bit unusual in Central Queensland.

I had the opportunity to visit St James Lutheran College in Hervey Bay at the end of last year. They received $995,000 through the Capital Grants Program. Principal Luke Schoff gave me a tour of the school and showed me the areas which will be upgraded. They include the existing library, the refurbishment of six junior learning areas and a new student amenities block. So good luck to St James Lutheran College. I think that is fantastic for them.

In closing, with not too much time left to go, I just want to bring the focus back to the HMAS Tobruk. We won an absolute battle—between us and Tasmania and a lot of other places around the country that wanted to receive the HMAS Tobruk for it to be sunk as a dive wreck. I am very pleased to report that progress on this is continuing. We expected that it will be scuttled somewhere around late June and should certainly be available for divers by August.

The thing about this ship, as I am sure you know, Mr Speaker, is that it will be the only one of its kind in the world. There are people who travel the world to see these dive wrecks, particularly military ships. The thing that is unique about it—and it's very straightforward—is that, as a heavy landing vessel, the bow and stern of the ship can actually be opened up. So the expectation is that the stern will be open and you will be able to actually swim the full length of the HMAS Tobruk as a diver—some 132 metres. They are getting ready now. They have cut access ways and they are making it safe. That work is being done locally down at Burnett Heads. I have to say that it's a great sight to see—another opportunity for you, Mr Speaker: get in the panel van and get yourself up to Central Queensland and go to Bundaberg and have a look at HMAS Tobruk before it is sunk into the great waters around Hervey Bay and Bundaberg. This is a fantastic opportunity. It will add millions of dollars to our economy, and I congratulate all those involved.

Authorised by Keith Pitt, Federal Member for Hinkler, 41b Woongarra Street, Bundaberg QLD 4670

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