Campaign begins to sink HMAS Tobruk in the Sandy Strait
THE battle to secure the recently decommissioned Australian Navy vessel HMAS Tobruk has united the region's politicians, dive enthusiasts and businesspeople.
A Regional Dive Wreck Advisory Group has been formed to lead the charge to secure the heavy landing ship, to be sunk in 34 metres of water between Bundaberg and Hervey Bay as a military dive experience.
Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said the community push to secure the Tobruk began back in 2013.
"I'm grateful a Regional Dive Wreck Advisory Group has now been formally established to determine a preferred site for the wreck, and to report on the economic and tourism benefits to the region," Mr Pitt said.
"I encourage business owners, history buffs, water sport lovers, recreational fishers, tourists and locals to get behind the Advisory Group's campaign - like their Facebook page and share it with their friends."
Mr Pitt said exploring Australia's military history underwater, or 'diving into history' as it's more commonly known, is an activity which has significantly grown in popularity in recent years.
"For example, about 5,000 divers explore HMAS Adelaide in NSW each year.
At least 90 per cent of divers come from outside the region, including 20 per cent who come from overseas," Mr Pitt said.
Members of the Regional Dive Wreck Advisory Group:
- Scott Rowe RDA WBB executive officer
- Daniel Poacher RDA WBB deputy chair
- Stephen Bennett State Opposition Spokesman for Environment and State Member for Burnett
- Ted Sorensen State Member for Hervey Bay
- Mal Forman Bundaberg Regional Council Mayor & WBBROC Chair
- Gerard O'Connell Fraser Coast Regional Council Mayor
- Lynne Wilbraham Gympie Regional Council, economic development manager
- Tim Powers, Hervey Bay Chamber of Commerce president
- George Duck, Hervey Bay Boat Club president
- Ed Gibson, Hervey Bay Boat Club general manager
- Robyn Burgess, Tasman Venture Whale Watch
- Michelle Spedding, Mantaray Dive Centre
- Dave Spedding, Mantaray Dive Centre
-Julian Negri, Bundaberg aqua scuba
- Alan Cochrane, artificial reef HMAS
- Brenda Cochrane, artificial reef HMAS
- Syd Tanner, recreational diver & fisher
- Bob Hockey, Department of State Development