The Premier of Victoria, 16 September 2008

Works Progressing For New Dive Attraction

Works Progressing For New Dive Attraction

From the Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Tim Holding

Tuesday, 16 September 2008 — Extensive works are now underway to scuttle a former Royal Australian Navy warship to create a major new diving attraction off the shores of Barwon Heads.

Tourism and Major Events Minister Tim Holding said the ex-HMAS Canberra vessel is on track to be scuttled early next year.

“The Brumby Government is undertaking a range of major projects to enhance tourism experiences for local, interstate and international visitors,” Mr Holding said.

“The ex-HMAS Canberra will provide a spectacular attraction and create an underwater playground for experienced divers near Barwon Heads.

“Each year there are approximately 150,000 dives in Victoria which will increase significantly with the addition of the ex-HMAS Canberra.”

Since the warship was towed from Rockingham, Western Australia to the Port of Geelong in June this year three levels of the vessel have been completely stripped removing fixtures, pipes, cables.

Commissioned in 1981, the ex-HMAS Canberra is a 4,100 tonne, 138 metre long and 30 metre high Adelaide Class guided missile frigate.

Mr Holding said the ship had been gifted to Victoria by the Commonwealth Government and the Brumby Government was providing $1.5 million dollars towards the project.

“The Great Ocean Road region has a fantastic range of diverse attractions and events – whether you are interested in adventure tourism, touring, food and wine, history and heritage, music, sport, or a short break,” he said.

Mr Holding said the new attraction would help Victoria capitalise on the increased demand for nature-based tourism experiences.

“Nature-based tourism is one of our most important tourism markets, with 77 per cent of international visitors and 37 per cent of domestic visitors undertaking at least one nature-based tourism activity during a trip to Victoria. Mr Holding said.

“Natural attractions have the potential to increase Victoria’s tourism yields and lead to greater prosperity for tourism operators and local communities.

Member for Bellarine Lisa Neville said the ex-HMAS Canberra would further enhance the tourism offerings in the region and provide a valuable asset for local diving enthusiasts.

“Some of Australia's greatest but least known dive sites are located along the Great Ocean Road including spectacular caves, fish life, reefs, and shipwreck sites,” Ms Neville said.

"Studies by Tourism Victoria estimate the net economic benefit to Victoria of the dive site, through spending by new visitors, to be around $1.3 million per annum which will see new local jobs created in the Bellarine.”

The Premier of Victoria, Media Release Online

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