Tobruk could bring thousands of divers to the region

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt says calls for the ex-HMAS Tobruk to be turned into a museum are just not feasible.

“The Department of Defence has advised that due to the de-militarised state and deteriorating condition of the vessel, ex-HMAS Tobruk is unsuitable as a museum piece,” he said.

“Such a museum would also pose significant health and safety issues for the general public.

“In addition, the cost to maintain such a museum would be significant, impose a financial burden on the recipient of the ship and would not be value for money.”

Mr Pitt reiterated that ex-HMAS Tobruk and Sydney would be offered to the states and territories for the creation of dive wrecks.

The Wide Bay Regional Drive Wreck Advisory Group estimate the cost to prepare ex-HMAS Tobruk for scuttling is $6 million, with Fraser Coast Regional Council and Bundaberg Regional Council each committing $1 million towards the project.

“As I’ve stated on multiple occasions, a Tobruk dive site has the potential to contribute between $1 million and $4 million each year to the local economy. This will be a great rate of return for a one-off estimated investment of approximately $6 million.”

“It would provide our local tourism operators with another water-based attraction that will keep boats in the water during the months that humpback whales and loggerhead turtles are not in the region.”

Mr Pitt said the dive wreck could bring thousands of divers to the region.

“The HMAS Adelaide in New South Wales attracts about 5,000 divers each year, with at least 90 percent of divers coming from outside the region and 20 percent from overseas.

“Just recently, a dive operator based on the Sunshine Coast said his business had increased by 1500 percent since HMAS Brisbane was sunk 10 years ago.”