News

WATCH: State Government to decide on HMAS Tobruk gift

A DECISION from the State Government will be made in the coming days on whether to accept the ex-HMAS Tobruk (II) if offered by the Defence Department.

Since August last year, the Regional Dive Wreck Advisory Group has lobbied for the decommissioned ship to be sunk between Hervey Bay and Bundaberg.

The pending state announcement follows talks between group member Ed Gibson and tourism minister Kate Jones last week.

It could cost about $80,000 every year to maintain the Wide Bay dive site, pitched to be between Burrum Heads and Woodgate, Regional Development Australia Wide Bay Burnett executive Scott Rowe said.

A bid for the ship to be sunk at Tasmania's Skeleton Bay has also been lodged by the Break O'Day Council.

While HMAS Tobruk Skeleton Bay project manager Peter Paulsen was worried it would be sold as scrap metal, a Defence Department spokesperson said options were being considered.

"The disposal of ex-Navy vessels is a complex matter and the Minister is considering the wide range of issues associated with creating dive wrecks," the spokesperson said.

If the boat is not sold or gifted to Tasmania, it could be given to a neighbouring Navy, Mr Rowe said.

While Mr Rowe said the Defence Department had kept "cards close to their chest", he said the HMAS Tobruk military dive experience was the best bet.

"It (the Wide Bay) is the perfect idyllic site (and) we already have a very successful whale watching industry here," Mr Rowe said.

"Bundaberg has the turtles, so we can use utilise the vessels that are already equipped out of Urangan Harbour and of course the Port of Bundaberg to get out to (HMAS) Tobruk (II)."

Hervey Bay Boat Club Dive president Garry Pomroy said he was eager to help man cruise boats to the site.

"To dive and swim through one of our great ships is a great experience in itself," he said.

"You could see fish life. They start moving in straight away, but it might take some months, even years, for different growth and different sized fish to get in there."

Mr Pomroy said he hoped the site is easily accessible to Fraser Coast divers.

Topics:  hmas tobruk, navy



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