Tobruk scuttling a 'devastating failure': MP Stephen Bennett
MEMBER for Burnett Stephen Bennett has labelled the sinking of ex-HMAS Tobruk a "devastating failure”, after the ship come to rest on its side following the scuttling operation on June 29.
"After a culmination of a five-year campaign to get this former navy vessel to our region to be used as a world-class artificial reef, I'm incredibly saddened that the scuttling of ex-HMAS Tobruk has been a complete, devastating failure,” he said.
"Our community was promised a global phenomenon to bring in much-needed national and international tourism opportunities, yet all we have now is an ex-navy ship rotting away at the bottom of the ocean that can only be accessed by very few extremely experienced divers.
"The Labor Government will be reluctant to come out and admit it, but the way it's been sunk on its side means novice and intermediate divers won't be able to access the dive site at all - cutting out half of the market we were pitching to in the first place.
"I'm told that even the more advanced divers will have trouble diving this site as it is.
"It's an absolute catastrophe for our community, and an insult to those who served on this beautiful ship.”
Mr Bennett warned the Labor Government that if it thinks because the navy ship is out of sight it will be out of mind, they've got another thing coming.
He said the public deserved answers about what went wrong.
"I won't let this go. There's some important questions that need to be answered,” he said.
"One has to wonder whether the Government pressured the contractor to go ahead with the scuttling given that it had been rescheduled twice already, even if the conditions weren't ideal.
"Has the contractor been paid by the government, and what's the cost to rectify the bungle?
"Dive operators have invested so much in anticipation of what was supposed to be a world-class dive site. Will they be compensated?”