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28-07-2005 02:50 PM #1
Keen to fish the Brisbane?? Sorry WRONG!!
Conservation Park declared over 'Brisbane' dive site
Sunday July 31 has been identified as the preferred day to sink ex-HMAS Brisbane, Premier Peter Beattie said today.
As well a new conservation park will protect the ex-HMAS Brisbane artificial reef and dive site.
The Premier and Environment Minister Desley Boyle toured the ex-HMAS Brisbane this morning then announced the vessel's scuttling date and the creation of the new Ex-HMAS Brisbane Conservation Park under the Nature Conservation (Protected Areas) Regulation 1994.
"Scuttling the ex-HMAS Brisbane heralds a new era in Sunshine Coast and Queensland tourism, with obvious major spin-offs for the local economy," Mr Beattie said.
"This dive site puts Queensland firmly on the international dive tourism map and will attract visitors from across the globe.
"The dive wreck has the potential to generate thousands of divers each year - and opens up even more valuable tourism and job opportunities for the Sunshine Coast and the region.
"The site must be protected so the benefits will flow into the future. The creation of a conservation park will do exactly this," he said.
The conservation park will ensure commercial access to the site is well-managed and will restrict or prohibit activities that could compromise safety, amenity or conservation, such as fishing and anchoring.
"Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service will also be responsible for encouraging the development of new reef communities, providing access to the site and regulating commercial operators, dive clubs and recreational divers," Mr Beattie said.
The site is due to open for diving in August.
Ms Boyle said it was a huge logistical exercise to prepare the ex-HMAS Brisbane for sinking.
"Sinking a warship is not an everyday - or simple - event," Ms Boyle said.
"It is a huge and complex logistical exercise and we have been working for months to prepare the ship for its final journey.
"Sunday July 31 is our target scuttling date, however locking down the exact date will ultimately depend on the weather, wind and sea conditions closer to the day," she said.
"Our plans for the scuttling are in place and ready to go on and we will be able to confirm the scuttling timing once we have the weather "all clear" closer to the date," she said.
Member for Kawana, Emergency Services Minister Chris Cummins said the scuttling would be a great spectacle and a great opportunity to promote the State.
"I expect wide public interest in the scuttling - not just from the recreational diving fraternity, but those interested in the exciting process of settling a battleship on the ocean's floor and what happens afterwards as a new reef ecosystem builds around the wreck.
"This is a 'landmark' event.
"We will all be glued to the weather reports as the target scuttling date approaches, and will update Queenslanders on this exciting event as it draws closer."
Mr Beattie thanked Federal MP Peter Slipper for his continued support of the Ex-HMAS Brisbane scuttling.
NOTE: ***The Premier said that while the date has now been identified the sinking time is subject to late change - as the weather, wave conditions and overall safety (being the number one priority) could force unplanned late-notice alteration.
Media contact: Premier's Office 3224 4500