It'll take years to secure new wreck for divers, MP says
IT WILL take years for Hervey Bay to get a new dive wreck and there's a lot of competition for the vessels, Hinkler MP Keith Pitt says.
"We have to secure the vessel first and secure enough funding - anywhere between $5-$10 million," he said.
Parliamentary secretary to the minister for defence Darren Chester visited Hervey Bay on Thursday with Mr Pitt to talk about securing a shipwreck as a new tourist attraction.
Mr Chester said Hervey Bay has the existing infrastructure with tourism and whale watching industry, and it would be a great opportunity to increase jobs and grow economically with a possible dive wreck.
But, he said, it was up to the defence ministry to consider the option.
"Defence will decide if the vessels should be scrapped or given to countries that may have a use for them or if a ship wreck is the best option," he said.
"We've got the time now to explore the feasibility of it and go to defence with a realistic proposal."
Mr Pitt, who has been in talks with Mr Chester since May, this year said the ideal vessel for the dive wreck would be HMAS Tobruk (L50) - a 138m long vessel.
"The 138m long vessel has very strong ties to our local community and some of the battalion who went on that ship were raised in this area," he said.
While in town, Mr Pitt and Mr Chester also took time out to inspect a new safety boat at the local Australian Naval Cadet unit, Training Ship Krait in Urangan.
Mr Chester said the new Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat from the federal government will enable them to learn skills in the safest possible way.