A new five-year (2018-2023) Superyacht Strategy has been launched by the Queensland government to attract more yachts to the Australian state, boost investment, expand infrastructure and create jobs.

The new strategy was announced by Queensland Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, Cameron Dick, at the ASMEX 2018 conference in Sanctuary Cove. “The Queensland government is committed to realising the significant economic and employment potential of this growth sector, especially in regional Queensland,” he said.

“Queensland's climate, tourism assets and cruising grounds, world-class maintenance and refit facilities, proximity to Asia and the South Pacific and safe and stable environment mean we can take the lead in the superyacht industry in the region,” the Minister said. “We are positioning Queensland as a key superyacht hub in the Asia Pacific by 2023, with 10% more of the global market.

“Superyacht activity in south east Queensland,” he continued, “brought A$630m into the state's economy and supported 4,500 jobs in 2016. It is expected to expand to A$1.1bn and nearly 8,000 jobs by 2021. In Cairns and the Whitsundays, the A$320m and 2,660 jobs generated by superyacht activity in 2016 is expected to rise to A$580m and 4,500 jobs by 2021.”

During the 2016-17 season, there were around 200 superyachts operating in Australian waters, the Minister commented. “Going by the rule of thumb that superyacht charters spend about 10% of the value of the vessel on running costs, plus the cost of maintenance, provisioning and follow-on tourism, we can readily see the benefits this work will bring to Queensland.”

The Minister pointed out: “We are seeking to reduce Federal Government red tape to expand the industry and create more jobs in our major maritime precincts of the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Cairns and the Whitsundays. Our strategy also aims to attract superyachts to more places along our 13,000km coastline and create business and jobs opportunities in regional Queensland, building on the success of Cairns, the Whitsundays and the Gold Coast, and investigating additional locations such as Bowen, Wide Bay and Moreton Bay.”

Member for Cairns, Michael Healy, has been appointed to lead the implementation of the Superyacht Strategy for Queensland and Far North Queensland in particular – where most superyachts enter Queensland waters.

“Michael brings a wealth of hands-on experience in the superyacht and tourism sectors to this role,” said Minister Dick, “including more than 10 years with industry leader Quicksilver Connections, and as a director of Tropical North Queensland, Port Douglas Daintree Tourism and Tourism Queensland. Michael will represent the Queensland government at meetings of the Superyacht Group Great Barrier Reef and other sector events and in discussions with the Federal Government.

“Michael's expertise and industry standing makes him a strong and influential advocate for Queensland in seeking the Federal support we need to expand this sector, particularly to drive the development of cruising infrastructure in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.”

Healy commented: “'Queensland is strategically so well-placed to not only provide outstanding leisure destinations but also experienced and qualified crews and world-class maintenance facilities. The Queensland government has invested A$45,000 to keep the ASMEX Conference in Queensland for the next three years.”

The Minister observed: “Our strategy encourages companies to build superyacht berths 80m (263ft) or longer to capture this strategic opportunity, lift existing maintenance facilities to European standards, and further develop access to facilities, services and social activities for guests and crew.”

Superyacht Australia CEO, MaryAnne Edwards, welcomed the Queensland government’s new strategy and support for the industry. “Queensland is a key destination for superyachts and as a result the supply chain that supports these vessels contributes significantly to the Queensland economy, especially regional Queensland and we see continuous growth in the sector,” Edwards said.