LNP Federal Member for Fisher Peter Slipper says a plan for a second dive wreck for the Sunshine Coast is taking shape, with a possible location identified.
Mr Slipper is lobbying to scuttle the HMAS Tobruk when the iconic naval ship is decommissioned in 2012. The idea would be to turn her into an artificial reef to compliment the ex-HMAS Brisbane dive site.
"There's still a lot of work to do, including surveying and environmental research, before the plans become concrete but the project is definitely progressing," Mr Slipper says.
"I've been advised a site about one nautical mile south of the ex-HMAS Brisbane would be the ideal resting place for Tobruk."
If the site is approved by the Environmental Protection Authority, the wreck will be conveniently close to the coastline and the Brisbane, which was scuttled in 2005. The Tobruk should also be clear of commercial scalloping areas and natural reefs.
Local dive operators say a second wreck will actually triple the length of time that visitors stay on the Sunshine Coast. Generally they only need one day to explore the ex-HMAS Brisbane. With two wrecks, divers are likely to allocate one day for orientation, then a full day for each of the wrecks.
"That's going to be great for our tourism industry and economy," Mr Slipper says.
"But let's also remember, turning the Tobruk into a majestic reef is a respectful way to honour its legacy as a warship."
A meeting of stakeholders is being organised to move the project forward. A business plan will also be drawn up.
Mr Slipper is also keen to bring the HMAS Adelaide here. The vessel was meant to be scuttled off the central New South Wales coast but legal action put the plan on hold.
Peter Slipper MP
Federal Member for Fisher
21 May 2010