Bad press for Tobruk 'not needed': Dive Queensland boss
THE PRESIDENT of Dive Queensland has spoken out against people talking down the opportunity presented by the ex-HMAS Tobruk off the Bundaberg coast.
Terrence Cummins said negativity was something the Australian diving industry "does not need right now" and wouldn't help bring visitors to the Bundaberg region.
Mr Cummins was chosen by the state government as the independent dive expert to complete an assessment report of the scuttled ship.
He yesterday told the NewsMail that ongoing negative press surrounding the botched scuttling would not help an industry that needed all the support it could muster, citing high competition levels overseas and costs associated with diving as hurting the industry in Australia.
Mr Cummins, an experienced dive operator who helped establish dive organisation PADI in the South Pacific, said his position at Dive Queensland was separate from the report he produced for the state government.
This report was completed by Mr Cummins's consultancy business; Terrence Cummins International Business Coaching and Consultancy.
In the report Mr Cummins said he did not believe the ship's position would negatively affect the "attractiveness and marketability" of the dive site.
"There are already young fish and marine life on the wreck," he said.
His comments come as Hinkler MP Keith Pitt yesterday upped the pressure on the Queensland Government to "open the books" and be transparent with residents about the failed scuttling, where the boat should have settled upright rather than on its side.
"There are many questions which should be answered given this project was paid for by taxpayers and local ratepayers," Mr Pitt said.
"Has the contractor been paid in full? Has the contractor activated the insurance?
"What about the $1 million from both Bundaberg Regional Council and Fraser Coast Regional Council - what has this been used for? Should the council's be asking for a refund?"
Queensland's Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch hit back, accusing Mr Pitt of "talking down tourism opportunities in the region".
"The independent expert advice makes it clear the HMAS Tobruk is a world class dive site," Ms Enoch said.
"Tourism operators are ready to go with one operator reporting that they have a waiting list of more than 400 waiting to dive the Tobruk.
"For Keith Pitt to suggest we spend up to $20 million to move the Tobruk, risk its structural integrity, and delay access is simply unacceptable."