For the first time in more than three years, the Queensland state government plans to develop a new strategy for the superyacht sector. It will also provide A$45,000 sponsorship to the Australian Superyacht and Marine Export Conference (ASMEX) to prevent it relocating to Sydney.

The ASMEX conference has been held annually over past years at the Sanctuary Cove resort and marina, just prior to the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show (SCIBS), held in May.

The announcement of state support for the superyacht sector was made recently at Gold Coast City Marina (GCCM) by Treasurer Curtis Pitt. The GCCM has recently completed an expansion which now allows it to undertake maintenance and repairs on yachts up to 65m (213ft) in length.

“The industry is already being inundated with berthing inquiries ahead of the Commonwealth Games and with New Zealand winning the America’s Cup,” said Curtis, “and we already know there aren’t enough facilities in Queensland to accommodate forecasted demand.

“This represents an untapped goldmine for Queensland well beyond the direct economic benefit for the local marine and tourism industries,” he added. “There will be knock-on supply chain benefits through provisioning, refuelling and even thousand-dollar-a-day floral contracts to keep vessels decorated to the owner’s criterion.

“Queensland needs a new superyacht strategy and we actually had one up until 2013, when the Newman government turned its back on it. Since that time there have been significant changes in the sector, as well regulatory environment and economic outlook, so it’s timely for the Department of State Development to lead a new strategy.”

Curtis emphasised that the Queensland government is firmly committed to developing the superyacht sector to realise its substantial economic and employment potential of this growth sector, especially in regional Queensland.

“These yachts don’t just represent an enormous economic opportunity for local suppliers and contractors,” he continued, “but aboard these vessels are some of the wealthiest investors in the world, representing an opportunity for places like the Gold Coast, Whitsundays and Cairns to showcase what their regions have to offer.

“Frankly I’ve been left dumbfounded by the Federal government’s obstinate refusal to remove the simple and obvious barriers to unlocking this lucrative industry’s potential in Australia, so Queensland will again go it alone in leading the way,” he suggested. “Our superyacht strategy will be to articulate the industry’s growth prospects, its importance to the economy and identify infrastructure needs.”

The strategy will be led by the State Development and Tourism Departments.

As to ASMEX, Minister for State Development Anthony Lynham presented another boost, courtesy of the Queensland government, by announcing an A$45,000 investment to keep the Australian Superyacht and Marine Export Conference in Queensland. “This sponsorship will ensure the ASMEX conference remains in Queensland for the next three years,” he said.

“New South Wales has recognised the economic value of this event and attempted to secure it for Sydney, but we weren’t prepared to lose this unique platform which showcases Queensland’s capability in the marine sector and attracted 185 delegates to a sold-out conference this year. Supporting the superyacht industry means supporting a wide range of flow on industries, including maintenance, catering, florists, to name a few.

“This is about cementing Queensland’s position as the nation’s leading supplier of superyachts and allied services,” he said.