Redland City Council has launched a community campaign calling on the State Government to select the waters off North Stradbroke Island as Queensland’s choice as the final resting place for the ex-warship HMAS Tobruk.
Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said the campaign would support a formal expression of interest Council will lodge asking Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to scuttle the Tobruk in Moreton Bay to create an artificial reef.
“The waters off Straddie tick all the boxes to be the new home for the Tobruk; it is a short drive from Brisbane and boasts world class tourism and dive locations,” Cr Williams said.
“Point Lookout is known as the best land based whale watching location in the world and creating an artificial reef on Straddie’s doorstep would attract even more marine life, which is a plus for locals, tourists and most importantly the marine environment.
Cr Williams said the opportunity came at a critical time for the future of North Stradbroke Island with sand mining to end by 2019.
“Straddie already has impressive dive sites like the Manta Bommie, which is known as one of Australia’s top 10 dive sites, and creating a new artificial reef by scuttling HMAS Tobruk would attract thousands of divers a year and provide flow-on economic opportunities to the region.”
Cr Williams said the Sink Tobruk for Straddie campaign gave locals and visitors the chance to show the State Government the community support for bringing the ex-warship to Straddie.
“Local businesses and divers from all over Redlands and Brisbane are eager to help in any way they can,” Cr Williams said.
“There is also the backing of the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation who represent the island’s Traditional Owners. They are keen to welcome the Tobruk back to Moreton Bay to complement the island’s growing cultural tourism offerings.
Cr Peter Mitchell, who represents North Stradbroke Island, said the HMAS Brisbane which was scuttled off the Sunshine Coast in 2005, now resulted in an average of 5300 scuba divers per year with an economic impact of $1.5 million a year.
“This would be a perfect opportunity for North Stradbroke Island,” he said.
“Council will submit a formal expression of interest to the State Government by the deadline of 16 September”.