REDLAND MP Kim Richards will head a crack team dealing with wrecked boats left to pollute the state’s waterways.
The state government has announced a War on Wrecks, or WoW, taskforce that will consult and develop long-term strategies.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said it was the responsibility of owners to remove a vessel that became unserviceable or wrecked.
“If an irresponsible boat owner refuses to clean up for themselves, our taskforce will be coming after them,” Mr Bailey said.
He said the taskforce would help remove eyesores and navigational and environmental hazards.
“We will be seeking feedback from communities across Queensland to help us identify the worst derelict vessels, and will use our recently announced $20 million WoW fighting fund to remove these ships.
“We want to ensure vessel owners understand and meet their responsibilities from maiden voyage to final mooring and, more importantly, we want to ensure negligent owners are held to account.
“Derelict vessels are an ongoing and increasing threat to Queensland waters.”
Ms Richards said current strategies were not effective in dealing with irresponsible vessel owners leaving derelict vessels in waterways.
“Dealing with waterways management issues and the ongoing problem of derelict vessels requires a multi-pronged approach including removal of existing derelict vessels and a range of strategies to prevent vessels from becoming derelict in the first place,” Ms Richards said.
“Prevention is better than cure and we need to alter the behaviour of negligent vessel owners when it comes to disposal of their vessels past their use by date.
“That’s why I have accepted leadership of this taskforce to navigate complex waterways and vessel management issues to improve individual accountability and responsible vessel ownership.”
Douglas Shire Council mayor Julia Leu will be deputy chair of the taskforce.
Cr Leu said the wrecks spoiled waterways in the Douglas Shire and she was looking forward to working with communities across the state.
“Ultimately all wrecks could be seen as illegal dumping with potential to have a detrimental impact on our waterways,” Cr Leu said.
“They can also pose a serious safety hazard during large tides or other weather events.”
Mr Bailey said the taskforce would deliver an interim report with recommendations after six months.
“I will expect the taskforce to progress towards achieving a long-term vision, where owners are able to take responsibility for their vessels for their entire lifecycle, and all Queenslanders can enjoy safer, cleaner seas,” Mr Bailey said.
“We continue to emphasise that vessel owners are responsible for maintaining their vessels and either repairing or removing them from water if they become derelict or a wreck.
“However with more than 260,000 registered recreational vessels and about 15,000 commercial vessels operating in Queensland there are still some owners and operators who simply don’t accept their responsibilities to protect our waterways.”
Mr Bailey said the government removing abandoned vessels at public cost was not the answer.
He said the taskforce would :
- Review the effectiveness of existing efforts to address waterway management and derelict vessels in Queensland
- Identify the causal factors that contribute to undesirable waterway management and vessel ownership behaviours.
- Investigate best practice strategies that other national and international regulators have successfully implemented to address these factors
- Identify new strategies and initiatives that can be successfully implemented in Queensland to address the issues and assess their impact
- Consider options to improve levels of coordination and collaboration of existing efforts at the local, regional and state level