Parliament of Victoria, 23 May 2007

HMAS Canberra

HMAS Canberra

Parliament of Victoria, Members Statements
Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Mr DIXON (Nepean) Last year the federal government generously offered the decommissioned hulk of the former HMAS Canberra to the states and territories as a potential dive site. The Victorian diving industry immediately saw the potential of the ship as a dive site in Victorian waters. Victorian waters provide excellent diving, especially inside and outside Port Phillip Heads, with magnificent canyons and reefs and more flora and fauna species than the Great Barrier Reef. Further diversity is also provided by a number of wrecks in the area. It took a very determined and professional campaign by Victoria's diving industry to finally persuade an uninterested Bracks government to put in an expression of interest at the last minute. The New South Wales government had also submitted a well-bankrolled bid to the federal government.

I think the precarious nature of the electorate of the member for South Barwon prompted the government's interest, as the Victorian proposal called for the ship to be sunk not far from his electorate's shores.

Despite this government's attitude, Victoria's proposal was successful, but now that the election is over, the project is going nowhere, and the ship is rusting at anchor in Western Australia. The least this government can do for Victoria's diving industry is to pull its finger out, get the ship here, sink it and allow the Victorian diving industry to have some joy before it is decimated by 18 months of dredging in and around the best diving locations in Victoria.

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