THE government’s crack team dealing with wrecked boats polluting the state waterways will hold a public consultation session at Cleveland next week.
The $20 million War on Wrecks taskforce chaired by Redlands MP Kim Richards has been cleaning up abandoned vessels across Queensland.
The taskforce last week used a helicopter with a sling to hoist an abandoned yacht Sweet Kate that had washed up on the rocks at Burleigh Heads.
Ms Richards said Maritime Safety Queensland had given the owner plenty of opportunity to salvage the yacht.
“A yacht on the rocks calls for an innovative solution but far from being all at sea, the taskforce hatched a plan,” Ms Richards said.
Tourism Development Assistant Minister Meaghan Scanlon said the removal of the wreck was necessary for the safety of boaties and other recreational users of the waterways.
“Because the yacht was precariously perched on rocks and being hit by surf, the safest option for salvage wasn’t by sea but from above with a helicopter,” Ms Scanlon said.
Ms Richards said owners were responsible for the repair or removal of their damaged vessels from waterways.
“MSQ always seeks to recover the cost of salvage operations from the owners of wrecked or abandoned boats where they can be identified,” she said.
“This helicopter-assisted salvage effort is no different.”
Ms Richards said the team – set up in July – had removed more than 72 wrecks.
“The War on Wrecks taskforce is closely monitoring a further 250 vessels across Queensland and is working to identifying their owners to ensure they comply with their obligations under the law to repair or remove these vessels, at their own cost,” Ms Richards said.
“Through community feedback up and down the coast, the taskforce is tapping into the local knowledge of communities to identify additional wrecks, their owners, and the development of proactive strategies to reduce the number of privately-owned vessels falling into disrepair.”
Ms Richards said the consultation sessions were an opportunity for wreck owners to talk with the taskforce about the safe and appropriate removal of their vessels from the water.
She said the taskforce would provide an interim report with recommendations on responsible boat ownership to the minister at the end of next month.
“The purpose of the consultation process is to obtain community feedback on everything from registration to insurance to seaworthiness,” she said.
The public consultation session is from 1pm to 2.30pm on Friday, February 1 at Redland Performing Arts Cenre, 2-16 Middle Street, Cleveland.
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