PRESIDENT of the International Superyacht Society Lance Cushion, says action is required now if the Gold Coast is to become the ‘Monaco of the South Pacific’.
Superyacht tourism is a $160 million a year industry in Australia. Last year, 73 international vessels chartered Australian waters. The economic impact of a terminal on the Coast just by having a single superyacht in port is estimated to be $10,000 a day.
“The State Government has had long enough. It has been a political and election issue, but they now need to make a decision and get on with it,” says Cushion.
“Once the tender is announced it needs to be fast-tracked. We need it right now and at a time when we are screaming out for infrastructure. One of the most overlooked benefits of having superyachts on the Gold Coast is the injection of funds into the maintenance and repair industry.
“With an average stay over period of 10-12 days, the Gold Coast could become the port of call for yachts travelling from Sydney to the Great Barrie Reef. If the Coomera River is dredged, the flow-on effects for the refit and maintenance industry could be worth millions of dollars to the marine precinct.”
The State Government has shortlisted three groups for the city’s first $2.5 billion super yacht terminal.
Following expressions of interest in September 2007, a shortlisted consortia were announced. Bidders AIA consortium (Ariadne Australia, Investec Bank, Abacus Group Holdings) and Broadwater International Consortium (Watpac, Seymour Group, Babcock & Brown) tendered for both development areas.
Broadwater Quays (City Pacific, Raptis Group) bid for the southern area while Deep Blue (Devine, Leighton Contractors, Gold Coast City Marina, City Pacific) tendered for the northern stage.
But financial setbacks have resulted in Babcock & Brown and the Raptis Group bailing out of the project. The Bob Ell-operated Leda Holdings has replaced the Raptis Group in the Broadwater Quays consortium, while Babcock & Brown will be replaced by the Broadwater International consortium.
A Broadwater master-plan floated by Gold Coast City Marina boss Jeff Leigh-Smith and the Institute of Business Leaders (IBL) will be passed on to Cabinet later this month. The IBL facilitates two-way industry consultation between stakeholders and State Government. Recommendations outlined in the master-plan include seven potential sites for key marina infrastructure. There will also a new governing body similar to that of the defunct Gold Coast Waterways Authority.
“I have been planning this since 1973. All we can do now is wait for the State Government to go through the tender process which will take around 90 days. From there, the project will take two years to build,” says Leigh-Smith.
IBL chief executive Jevena O’Brien, has convened five forums on the matter in the past nine months.
“Cabinet submission is critical,” she says.
O’Brien says progress is imminent. The Gold Coast City Council has approved a $10 million, 150m extension of the sand pumping jetty at The Spit. The upgrade is expected to relieve shoaling at the opening of the Southport Seaway.
The proposal to develop 10.5ha for a marine super precinct from Sea World to the Southport Yacht Club, was announced in 2007.
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