Global ac­tion plan to boost jobs and ex­ports

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Rear View -

FAR NORTH Queens­land is in­vest­ing $ 240 mil­lion into de­vel­op­ing a highly buoy­ant, world- class marine sec­tor to at­tract su­pery­acht own­ers and man­u­fac­tur­ers from around the globe. Queens­land has al­ways been choice for yacht and boat lovers.

Pris­tine sail­ing ar­eas, in­clud­ing the Great Bar­rier Reef and the Whit­sun­days, com­bined with 7400 km of coast­line, warm wa­ter, balmy tem­per­a­tures and spec­tac­u­lar scenery, have been draw­ing fans of lux­ury wa­ter­craft from around Aus­tralia and the world for years.

Two thirds of Aus­tralian recre­ational boat build­ing ex­ports are man­u­fac­tured in Queens­land, and a sur­vey com­mis­sioned by the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment and con­ducted by the Boat­ing As­so­ci­a­tion of Queens­land ( now Marine Queens­land), re­ported that Queens­land’s marine in­dus­try em­ploys an es­ti­mated 11,000 peo­ple and con­trib­utes $ 2.6 bil­lon to the State’s econ­omy.

The sur­vey also stated the in­dus­try is con­tin­u­ing to ex­pe­ri­ence strong and con­sis­tent growth across the State. Lead­ing pres­tige marine com­pa­nies in­clud­ing Riviera Marine, Az­zura Yachts, and Quin­trex have cho­sen to lo­cate their op­er­a­tions in the sun­shine state.

Growth in this sec­tor av­er­aged more than 9 per cent a year over a 10- year pe­riod and now the Cairns and Far North Queens­land Cen­tre of En­ter­prise ini­tia­tive is tar­get­ing a world- class marine sec­tor for the re­gion.

Last month, the Min­is­ter for Tourism, Re­gional De­vel­op­ment and In­dus­try, Des­ley Boyle, an­nounced the first plan for the re­gion’s marine ser­vices sec­tor at a launch in Cairns.

While we have a strong di­verse in­dus­try here with es­tab­lished busi­nesses and op­er­a­tors, what we haven’t had up to this point is a clear di­rec­tion for long- term growth,’’ says Ms Boyle.

She says the Marine Ser­vices Sec­tor In­dus­try Ac­tion Plan would fo­cus on three key ar­eas:

Rais­ing the sec­tor’s in­ter­na­tional profile to cap­ture a greater share of global busi­ness;

Driv­ing com­pet­i­tive­ness by build­ing ca­pa­bil­ity and ca­pac­ity;

En­sur­ing the ap­pro­pri­ate in­fra­struc­ture and reg­u­la­tory en­vi­ron­ment are in place to en­able sus­tain­able busi­ness growth.

More­over, Ms Boyle ex­plains added ac­tiv­i­ties un­der the plan will in­clude work­ing with the Su­pery­acht Group - Great Bar­rier Reef to grow the su­pery­acht char­ter and ser­vice sec­tor and en­cour­ag­ing in­vest­ment in a su­pery­acht man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity in the re­gion.

We also hope to cap­ture more re­fit and main­te­nance work in com­mer­cial and defence mar­kets, pro­mote our prove­dor­ing ser­vices to cruise ships, strengthen marine tourism and fur­ther de­velop and mar­ket our world- class marine train­ing pro­grams,’’ Ms Boyle says.

And one of the first ac­tions will be a com­pre­hen­sive study of the cur­rent state of the in­dus­try with a view to de­vel­op­ment not only here in Cairns but in other key ar­eas such as Weipa, Cook­town and the Tor­res Strait where we can take ad­van­tage of ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture.’’

The gen­eral man­ager of Marine Queens­land ( MQ) Don Jones, is also sup­port­ive of the de­vel­op­ment of the Su­pery­acht Base in the Queens­land re­gion as this will in­crease both em­ploy­ment and tourism prospects for the in­dus­try and state.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion has over 600 in­dus­try­based mem­bers made up of in­di­vid­u­als and com­pa­nies.

Mr Jones es­ti­mates that ap­prox­i­mately 200 mem­bers are in­volved in the pres­tige yacht­ing/ boat­ing in­dus­try in the state.

Lux­ury ves­sels have the high­est per­cent­age reg­is­tra­tion in­crease of any cat­e­gory or size,’’ he says. Of ap­prox­i­mately 218,000 ves­sels reg­is­tered in to­tal in Queens­land, 10 per cent are eight me­tres- plus and or lux­ury.’’

MQ say the real de­mand in the pres­tige end of the mar­ket comes from se­nior cor­po­rate fig­ures and baby- boomers. And we are see­ing an in­creas­ing de­mand from min­ing em­ploy­ees.’’ Mr Jones adds.

While he ac­knowl­edges that NSW still dom­i­nates the high- end boat­ing mar­ket, he states that Queen­land is fast catch­ing up and will soon be lead­ing the way in terms of growth.

‘‘ Here at MQ we are ded­i­cated to build­ing this in­dus­try and recog­nise that the is­sue is to man­age the growth ef­fec­tively,’’ Mr Jones says.

Ac­cord­ing to the Su­pery­acht Base, the peak na­tional body rep­re­sent­ing the Aus­ralian Su­pery­acht in­dus­try, the world- wide su­pery­acht in­dus­try has grown by 26 per cent a year over the past five years.

Aus­tralia now has 15 su­pery­achts - 12 of which have been com­mis­sioned for ex­port - cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion, worth ap­prox­i­mately $ 650 mil­lion in to­tal.

In 2007 around 60 su­pery­achts vis­ited Aus­tralia and yacht con­struc­tion and vis­its are now worth about $ 810 mil­lion a year to Aus­tralia.

The Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment’s Marine In­dus­try Ac­tion Agenda in­cludes plans to en­hance the su­pery­acht in­dus­try by de­vel­op­ing our do­mes­tic and ex­port mar­kets; ad­dress­ing reg­u­la­tory im­ped­i­ments; en­cour­ag­ing in­no­va­tion, train­ing and skills de­vel­op­ment; and en­cour­ag­ing in­dus­try lead­er­ship.

Su­pery­acht Base Aus­tralia in con­junc­tion with Austrade, is work­ing closely to show­case Aus­tralia as an in­ter­na­tion­ally- com­pet­i­tive man­u­fac­turer of su­pery­achts.

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