A new customs post is to be established at the Southport Yacht Club on the Gold Coast by the Australian Federal Government to act as a arrival and departure point for yachts visiting the Commonwealth Games. The new post will initially be operational for a year as part of a pilot scheme which will be used to assess the viability of a permanent post.

Peter Dutton, minister for Immigration and Border Protection, commented: “The pilot program will provide inwards and outwards clearance for vessels and their crew and may encourage additional vessel traffic to the area. The boarding station will be active from 1 July this year until 30 June 2018, which will allow us to support the 2018 Commonwealth Games and to assess the potential for a permanent boarding station in the future.”

He pointed out that: “Australian Border Force and Biosecurity officers will clear foreign vessels of less than 50m (164ft) length at the boarding station, which will be located at the Southport Yacht Club. By establishing a boarding station on the Gold Coast, we are expanding our border protection coverage of south east Queensland and supporting local marine and tourism industries.”

Local government member for the Moncrieff district and minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo, said: “The setting up of the customs post is a coup for the city. This is yet another way we’re growing our city’s booming tourism industry by enticing more domestic and international tourists to the Gold Coast, including superyachts.”

“Having the ability to welcome these vessels to Southport Yacht Club rather than having to go into Moreton Bay means more people visiting the city, more growth in our local economy and more jobs in our thriving tourism industry, he added.

Similar customs clearance facilities are already operating in the region at Brisbane, Bundaberg and Coffs Harbour.

Trenton Gay, CEO of the Gold Coast City Marina and Shipyard commented: “It is a great step forward for our industry and timely as well.” Gay has been trying to get the GCCM as a port of entry for some time. He suggested: “It will consolidate our position as a superyacht hub by allowing more yachts and their tourism revenue to flow into our local economy in the lead up to next year’s games. This is in addition to the $410million the marine industry in south east Queensland already pumps into the national economy.”