An aerial shot of the ex-HMAS Tobruk after it was scuttled last week.
An aerial shot of the ex-HMAS Tobruk after it was scuttled last week. Contributed

State Government made 'a complete mess' of Tobruk: Pitt

HINKLER MP Keith Pitt has slammed the State Government over their decision not to correct the position of the scuttled ex-HMAS Tobruk.

It follows State Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch saying the Tobruk would remain in its current position and instead $1 million would be spent on promoting the wreck as a "world-class dive site".

The State Government recently received an independent report, commissioned by Queensland Parks and Wildlife and prepared by dive researcher Terrence Cummins.

Mr Pitt said the State Government's decision was "extremely disappointing".

"The State Government has made a complete mess of this project and taken more than three months to come to this decision," Mr Pitt said.

"From the very beginning, ex-HMAS Tobruk was meant to be sunk upright as a dive wreck. All the projection, tourism numbers and economic benefits, were based on it being upright.

"If the intention was for ex-HMAS Tobruk to be on its side, it could have been located closer to the coast and in shallower water."

During the scuttling on June 29, the vessel rolled 90 degrees and came to a rest on its starboard side

Ex-HMAS Tobruk descends below the surface: Watch as a camera on board captures the moment the ex-HMAS Tobruk descends under the water before hitting the bottom of the ocean.

Tourism and dive operators claim the current state of the ship have limited dive opportunities at the site and potentially shortened its lifespan.

Mr Pitt said he wouldn't let the State Government "attempt to sweep this under the carpet".

"They need to admit they got it wrong, and admit they are happy paying for the non-delivery of this project," he said.

"This was a project paid for by local ratepayers and tax payers and there are serious questions to answer."

But Ms Enoch said experienced salvage experts, divers, marine engineers and architects provided QPWS with advice over the situation.

"They pointed out a number of serious risks associated with righting the ship, the main being seriously damaging the ship," Ms Enoch said.

"On top of that, it could have been at least 12 months before the ship could be used as a dive site."