The Palaszczuk Government has received Superyacht Australia’s report on the ‘Economic Impact of the Superyacht Sector on the Australian Economy’ and will prepare a formal response.

Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the Palaszczuk Government had contributed $20,000 to the investigation to identify potential economic opportunities, especially for key destinations like the Gold Coast, Airlie Beach and Cairns.

“The economic impact study will help provide us with a clear understanding of the superyacht sector’s current and potential future contribution to the Queensland economy,” Mr Pitt said.

“I’m keen to support these opportunities to unlock new business opportunities in regional centres like Cairns and the Whitsundays, and further build on the Gold Coast’s reputation as a superyacht hot spot.

“The study reports that the sector directly supports more than 1,100 jobs and directly contributes $103.7 million to the Cairns and Whitsundays Gross Regional Product, but with a policy change could deliver hundreds more jobs and nearly double the economic benefit.

“I am especially interested in the flow-on economic impacts and support for employment in other related industries, particularly for disaster-hit towns like Airlie Beach which will need ongoing support in the years ahead and new opportunities.

“While our immediate focus must be on flood recovery and getting Queensland families and businesses back on their feet, we must also keep an eye to the future.

“Unlocking this industry’s potential will create jobs along our eastern seaboard for engineers, tradies, suppliers, slipways and more.

“Evidence shows that just one foreign superyacht can spend $2.5 million in a 12-month period, which would have considerable flow-on benefits for local tourism, hospitality and manufacturing sectors for areas right along the Queensland coast.

Chief executive of Superyacht Australia MaryAnne Edwards said the report identifies a range of restrictions at the national level that are inhibiting growth in the sector, especially the lack of flexibility in chartering arrangements and access to natural attractions like the Great Barrier Reef.

“If the Commonwealth Government adjusts federal legislation so that foreign superyachts have freedom to charter in Australian waters, as they do in New Zealand, our superyacht industry would grow substantially,” she said.

“We could see an extra 8,100 local jobs and $1.12 billion in GDP by 2021 and in the wake of Cyclone Debbie, Queensland needs an injection of positivity from the Federal Government.

“Allowing foreign flagged vessels to charter here would put a spotlight on Australia by international high-end travel agents and brokers, which can only help grow the domestic industry as well.

“This is a clear call to remove red tape and increase business opportunities for the huge supply chains and small businesses along Queensland’s east coast that service this industry.”

Treasurer Curtis Pitt said Federal Government restrictions are holding this industry back from booming in Queensland.

“Australia is losing out on millions of dollars in direct economic benefit as a result of Federal red tape, charges and restrictions with foreign superyachts overlooking Australia and visiting other countries in the Asia-Pacific region instead,” Mr Pitt said.

“I have written to the Turnbull Government about this issue a number of times as well as discussing it with Australian Minister for Trade and Tourism Steven Ciobo at the Trade Ministers meeting in Darwin and also raising it at the Council of Federal Financial Relations meeting in Canberra on March 24 with Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison.

“The Federal Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development is currently seeking input on its Coastal Shipping Reforms Discussion Paper, so I will also make a formal submission lobbying to reform the Coastal Trading Act.

“We expect that a relaxation of the current charter restrictions on foreign superyachts would see a significant increase in visitor numbers, which of course would benefit Queensland and Australia by supporting jobs including in regional areas.

“I hope the Federal Government will review the restrictions it places on foreign superyachts visiting Australia and I look forward to working with the Turnbull Government to grow the future of this lucrative industry.”

Queensland currently attracts the majority of all foreign superyachts visiting Australia, lured by the natural beauty of the Great Barrier Reef and availability of major supply and repair facilities in centres along our east coast.