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The Bulletin this month revealed the State Government had withdrawn its interest from bidding for three possible frigates to sink on the Gold Coast.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