Jones courts ‘wreck’ talks

The Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - KIRSTIN PAYNE

STATE Tourism Min­is­ter Kate Jones says she has the money for a dive site on the Gold Coast, but the onus is on fed­eral MP Stu­art Robert to de­liver it for $10 mil­lion.

While no spe­cific money was al­locted for a dive wreck in the $46 mil­lion Re­gional Tourism In­fra­struc­ture fund in Tues­day’s State Bud­get, Ms Jones said: “We have the funds there, but we need to know how much this will cost. Let’s be frank, it is a Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment as­set.”

The Bulletin this month re­vealed the State Gov­ern­ment had with­drawn its in­ter­est from bid­ding for three pos­si­ble frigates to sink on the Gold Coast.

Ms Jones said ob­tain­ing the HMAS Dar­win would have cost $30 mil­lion. Mr Robert, the Mem­ber for Fad­den, said the fig­ure was “ab­so­lute crap” and could be done for $10 mil­lion.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate then called on the State Gov­ern­ment to cover just $8 mil­lion of to­tal cost.

“My po­si­tion is, I am all for a dive site and this is what the Tourism In­fra­struc­ture Fund was es­tab­lished for, but I have not been con­tacted by Stu­art Robert on the pro­posal that he said would cost $10 mil­lion,” Ms Jones said.

“I am yet to even have a con­ver­sa­tion with the man.”

Ms Jones said yes­ter­day she could not de­tail the funds for the site specif­i­cally in the 2018-19 Bud­get as the price of the pur­chase had not been es­tab­lished, nor had she seen a case study.

The Min­is­ter said in pre­vi­ous dive site bids, the Fed­eral mem­bers worked hard to con­vince the State Gov­ern­ment to re­lease the ves­sels for a bar­gain price.

“I am more than happy to hear from the Fed­eral Gold Coast MPs like Min­is­ter Ciobo and Stu­art Robert to hear how much the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment can pro­vide it for,” she said.

Tourism In­dus­try Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter Kate Jones is all ears for a Gold Coast dive wreck.

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