GC hopes sunk on possible dive site

The Gold Coast looks to be the loser, after squabbles between the State and Federal Government stalls movements on a proposed dive site.

The plan to sink the HMAS Darwin and create a dive site, which would bring millions of dollars to the Coast, seems unlikely to go ahead.

Gold Coast Federal MP Stuart Robert has accused the Palaszczuk Government of lying and leading Canberra on.


“We’ve been negotiating now, for about six months,” he told MyGC.

“Mayor Tom Tate and I have had discussions with Premier Palaszczuk and Minister Kate Jones, and it turns out in January they had written to the Federal Department to say they weren’t interested.

“At no point did they say they were going to sell the Gold Coast out.”

However, the Queensland State Government blame poor communication at the Federal level for Mr Robert’s lack of knowledge.

They believe Mr Robert should have been alerted to this decision by his Federal Colleagues.

Federal Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester was sent an email in January which explained Queensland would pull out of the bidding, as costs rose.

MyGC understands HMAS Darwin is still in working condition and could be sold to another country or sold off for parts.

Queensland Minister for Tourism Kate Jones said the government is still committed to the project, as long as the prices stay reasonable.

“To scuttle HMAS Darwin, Newcastle or Melbourne off the Queensland coast would cost upwards of $30 million – potentially three times the cost of ex-HMAS Tobruk,” Minister Jones said.

“This is because the Federal Government’s preference was to make a profit by selling these ships to foreign navies.”

Mr Robert rubbished these claims and believes the project could still go ahead for around $10 million.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate agrees with this and said the Council could still make the project work.

“If the State Government puts $8 million on the table right now, our council can make the dive site deal a reality,” he said.

The Mayor wouldn’t outline how he would be able to make this project work, but if given the funding he would be able to outline the project within a fortnight.