Despite repeated requests for a review of the Plan of Management on the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) agenda by Superyacht Australia, due to work pressures, the item has not made it to the table.
This issue has been an ongoing one for the superyacht sector, with Superyacht Australia seeking to have two amendments made. The first amendment is to apply a consistent approach to the management of superyachts regardless of whether they are under charter or being operated for private use; a similar to how other global industries, such as aviation, are managed.
Secondly, the superyacht industry seeks an amendment to the Cairns and Whitsundays Plans of Management to provide greater flexibility for superyacht visitation. These management arrangements were originally developed in the late 1990's and common consensus is that they do not sufficiently consider superyacht use.
Currently there is little opportunity for superyachts in excess of 35 meters in length to provide the type of quality experience the owners and charter clientele are seeking, particularly to some of the more iconic destinations offshore from Cairns, Port Douglas and the Whitsundays.
Barry Jenkins, chairman of Superyacht Australia said, “The average size of a superyacht has grown over the years and the environmental performance of these vessels, in most cases, far exceeds the current operating standards of many other vessels. It is time this issue made it to the work agenda for GBRMPA.
“We have however, noted the considerable effort over the years to improve cruise yacht access throughout the Reef and in Plan of Management areas, for example the cruise yacht specific permits and cruise yacht anchorages and transit corridors.”
Queenslanders are particularly concerned that the extended delay from this decision means less superyachts will cruise in Queensland waters as one of the key attractions for the global superyacht fleet is cruising the Great Barrier Reef.
With the new Queensland Government strategy of doubling tourism revenue by 2020, this is a surprising decision and will be a real barrier to Premier Newman and Minister Jann Stuckey reaching their goal.
Mr Jenkins added, “We will not let this issue rest, we will be talking to all key stakeholders to see if there is some way we can progress this matter. While we appreciate GBRMPA has a significant work agenda we see this as a simple issue that has no downside for anyone and is certainly not an environmental threat to the Great Barrier Reef.”