Film crew claims Tobruk snub ahead of scuttling

A PROFESSIONAL film crew claims they were snubbed ahead of the botched sinking of the ex-HMAS Tobruk, after offering to shoot the scuttling free of charge.

Associate Media, which is based in Bargara near Bundaberg, wanted to record the sinking so that the broader community could witness the historic event.

It comes after The Courier-Mail reported that during the State Government's bid to create another artificial reef, the ex-HMAS Tobruk did not land on its hull and instead landed on its side.

The film crew's director David Quarrell said the Department of Parks and Wildlife had told him about two years ago that a filming contract would go to tender.

But attempts to find out when or whether the tendering process would start fell on deaf ears.

A Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service spokeswoman today said the government "had no intention" of putting it out to tender.

However in an attempt to let the film crew shoot, Burnett MP Stephen Bennett and Bundaberg Regional Councillor Jack Dempsey wrote to the government, encouraging them to allow Associate Media the opportunity to film the process.

In letters obtained by The Courier-Mail, which were received just days before the scuttling, Environment Minister Leanne Enoch said the department did not support a proposal that would have exclusive ownership of "any and all vision produced from Government projects".

"An equitable merit based process would need to be undertaken, for which there is no time at this stage of the project"," the letter read.

Local media was invited to film on the day.

Mr Quarrell said while he was able to film some of the event for a local dive business, he could not get onto the "media vessel" with Minister Enoch.

"There is a bit of hypocrisy when media were given a vessel with the Minister yet someone who wanted to film it for the community had to pay to get there and was asked not to film," he said.

"We wanted to put three videos out, one for everyone, one for Birdon's (scuttling contractor) corporate use and a longer feature length documentary that we were going to shoot.

"The raw footage would have gone out to everybody.

"We're (Bundaberg) a small community, it's one of those things where if you've got a skill that can be used for the community then you use it."

The spokeswoman said "one film crew" requested access to the ship prior to scuttling however this offer was not accepted as it was outside of the department's media policy and access to the ship by this time was not safe.



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