Pitt wants answers about Tobruk

Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt at the Tobruk farewell service.
Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt at the Tobruk farewell service. Mike Knott BUN050618TOBRUK1

HINKLER MP Keith Pitt has raised issues on ex-HMAS Tobruk's failed sinking in parliament.

Calling for Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to come forward with answers, Mr Pitt said it had been a "long fight for the people of my electorate to have HMAS Tobruk delivered into our region to be a dive wreck".

"We were successful some time ago when Minister Marise Payne announced that the Tobruk would be provided for Queensland.

The Tobruk was placed between Bundaberg and Hervey Bay, in about 30 metres of water, off the coast.

"We and the State Government were successful in preparing the ship for scuttling - which took quite some time, I have to say," Mr Pitt said.

"We were successful in getting the ship into position. But unfortunately, on the very last day, at the very last hurdle, when the ship was scuttled on June 29, the ship turned onto its side and is now resting on the bottom on its starboard side in 30m of water."

Mr Pitt continued by saying the dive site would still be fantastic, but it would not be the site everyone had hoped for.

"It will not be the site which we developed, which we fought for and which would have provided the greatest economic benefit," he said.

"The reason for that is quite simple. If HMAS Tobruk had been intended to be on its side, we would have scuttled it in much shallower water."

He said the capacity for less experienced divers to experience ex-HMAS Tobruk as a dive site was now much more limited.

Today he called for answers from the State Government.

"They put out a press release on July 9 to say that they were investigating and looking to scope opportunities," Mr Pitt said.

"In fact, Minister Leeanne Enoch said on August 1 that she was unable to say how much it would cost to right the botched scuttling of the ex-HMAS Tobruk.

"Here we find ourselves on August 15, no further progressed."

Mr Pitt said the longer the ship stayed on its side at the bottom of the ocean, the more difficult it would be to put it into the position in which it should be.

"I say to the State Labor Government again: Surely the contractor was insured - that is what insurance is for; that is its purpose, and we should activate that insurance through the contractor," he said.

"If it was not insured, clearly that is their fault and that is their incompetence.

"It's up to the Queensland State Labor Government."

Mr Pitt said it was past time to make a decision on what they were doing with the wreck.

"Our operators need to be able to access it," he said.

"They need to maximise the economic benefit, because for our region, it means jobs.

"There is nothing more important than jobs in our region. That is why we fought so hard to deliver this ship. I congratulate all of those involved, including state members, senators and local councillors, who contributed their hard-earned to get this to fruition."

The NewsMail will seek comment from the state regarding Mr Pitt's comments in tomorrow's edition.



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