13 April 2017
MEDIA RELEASE – from Treasurer & Minister for Trade & Investment, The Honourable Curtis Pitt.
Looking to the horizon for new maritime economic opportunities
The Palaszczuk Government has received Superyacht Australia’s report on the ‘Economic Impact of the Superyacht Sector on the Australian Economy’ and will prepare a formal response.
Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the Palaszczuk Government had contributed $20,000 to the investigation to identify potential economic opportunities, especially for key destinations like the Gold Coast, Airlie Beach and Cairns.
“The economic impact study will help provide us with a clear understanding of the superyacht sector’s current and potential future contribution to the Queensland economy,” Mr Pitt said.
“I’m keen to support these opportunities to unlock new business opportunities in regional centres like Cairns and the Whitsundays, and further build on the Gold Coast’s reputation as a superyacht hot spot.
“The study reports that the sector directly supports more than 1,100 jobs and directly contributes $103.7 million to the Cairns and Whitsundays Gross Regional Product, but with a policy change could deliver hundreds more jobs and nearly double the economic benefit.
“I am especially interested in the flow-on economic impacts and support for employment in other related industries, particularly for disaster-hit towns like Airlie Beach which will need ongoing support in the years ahead and new opportunities.
“While our immediate focus must be on flood recovery and getting Queensland families and businesses back on their feet, we must also keep an eye to the future.
“Unlocking this industry’s potential will create jobs along our eastern seaboard for engineers, tradies, suppliers, slipways and more.
“Evidence shows that just one foreign superyacht can spend $2.5 million in a 12-month period, which would have considerable flow-on benefits for local tourism, hospitality and manufacturing sectors for areas right along the Queensland coast.
“Superyacht Australia has identified a range of restrictions at the national level that are inhibiting growth in the sector, especially the lack of flexibility in chartering arrangements which prevents us capitalising on the appeal of natural attractions like the Great Barrier Reef.
“I have written to the Turnbull Government about this issue a number of times as well as discussing it with Australian Minister for Trade and Tourism Steven Ciobo at the Trade Ministers meeting in Darwin and also raising it at the Council of Federal Financial Relations meeting in Canberra on March 24 with Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison.
“I believe the quickest and easiest way to achieve this is for the Federal Government to introduce a standalone Bill into the Parliament to consider the matter of relaxing regulatory restrictions in the superyacht sector.
“The Federal Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development is currently seeking input on its Coastal Shipping Reforms Discussion Paper, so I will also make a formal submission lobbying to reform the Coastal Trading Act.
“We expect that a relaxation of the current charter restrictions on foreign superyachts would see a significant increase in visitor numbers, which of course would benefit Queensland and Australia by supporting jobs including in regional areas.
“This is a boom industry for Queensland but Federal Government restrictions are holding us back.
“Australia is losing out on millions of dollars in direct economic benefit as a result of Federal red tape, charges and restrictions with foreign superyachts overlooking Australia and visiting other countries in the Asia-Pacific region instead.
“I hope the Federal Government will review the restrictions it places on foreign superyachts visiting Australia and I look forward to working with the Turnbull Government to grow the future of this lucrative industry.”
Queensland currently attracts the majority of all foreign superyachts visiting Australia, lured by the natural beauty of the Great Barrier Reef and availability of major supply and repair facilities in centres along our east coast.
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