Divers are a step closer to accessing Queensland’s latest world-class dive site, with the Palaszczuk Government opening an Expression of Interest (EOI) process for experienced operators to conduct recreational diving activities on the ex-HMAS Tobruk site.
Ex-HMAS Tobruk is expected to be scuttled in the waters of Wide Bay, between Bargara/Burnett Heads and Hervey Bay, by mid-2018 (weather permitting) and will allow for recreational scuba divers and snorkelers to explore it through bookings with selected commercial operators.
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch said the dive site will provide a great opportunity for commercial dive operators in the region.
“The unique dive site will attract tourists from around Australia and the world, with divers able to explore the nooks and crannies of an historic ex-navy ship,” Ms Enoch said.
“Successful applicants from the EOI process will be able to apply for a Commercial Access Agreement to access this exclusive dive opportunity.”
“The Fraser Coast is lucky enough to boast a vast portfolio of nature-based tourist sites, including K’gari (Fraser Island), Mon Repos Turtle Rookery, the world renowned Hervey Bay whale watching area, and the wetlands in the Great Sandy Strait.
“This will be another stunning drawcard to add to the region, attracting tourism and boosting the local economy,” she said.
Minister for Tourism Industry Development Kate Jones said the recreational diving at the ex-HMAS Tobruk site would become a major drawcard for the Wide Bay region and become one of Queensland’s must-see tourism destinations.
“We know how important new attractions are when it comes to driving visitation,” Ms Jones said.
“This unique new offering will attract tourists to the region and will undoubtedly give a real boost to the local economy.
“Divers will be able to experience one of Australia’s best military wrecks, in one of Australia’s best destinations.”
Project Manager for the Ex-HMAS Tobruk Steven Hoseck said the dive site will be accessible to private divers in their own vessel through a booking system, so they can explore the 127 metre-long ship.
“Tobruk served the country for 34 years, and it’s fitting for the ship to serve the rest of her time from beneath the ocean’s surface, providing a unique experience for divers,” Mr Hoseck said.
“She will add to the region’s many existing natural attractions and will support marine ecosystems in the waters of Wide Bay, which will make the dive site even more spectacular to visit.”
Applicants for the EOI should have required training, licences and experience to safely guide scuba divers around a shipwreck, along with a thorough understanding of marine conservation and environmental management.
To submit an expression of interest, visit hpw.qld.gov.au/qtenders. Submissions close Friday 16 February 2018, 5pm.
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch