Australia’s Marina Industries Association (MIA) has reported that Queensland marinas are being held back from making a much more significant contribution to the State economy. “While Queensland marinas have been optimistic about revenue growth the reality is they have not been investing in their businesses,” Colin Bransgrove, MIA executive, said in a statement.

His comments are founded on independent research commissioned by the MIA and supported by leaders in the industry. The research was conducted by the Recreational Marine Research Centre at Michigan State University, using industry data from the 2012/13 financial year. The data was collected from 163 of Australia’s 347 marinas.

Nationally 40% of marinas expected growth in gross revenues in the 2013/14 period with marinas in Queensland (55%) and New South Wales (44%) the most optimistic. According to Marine Queensland general manager Don Jones, the projected optimism from Queensland marinas has been tempered by ongoing uncertainty around the matter of marina leases and lease payments. “This uncertainty is having a significant and negative impact on the marina sector in the State,” he said.

The data from the research relating to capital investment highlights that Queensland has been suffering from the uncertainty around these issues for some time.

During the survey period, the ratio of capital expenditure to gross revenue was 16% for Queensland marinas while the national average was 62%.  Furthermore only 9% of Queensland marinas surveyed invested in new revenue producing facilities or services against a national average of 33%, and only 9% of Queensland marinas invested in new boat storage capacity against the national average of 27%.

The average amount spent on new or improved environmental facilities or technologies at Queensland marinas was A$9,000. This was half the national average despite Queensland marinas being the biggest in the country as measured by turnover and boat storage capacity.

MIA Queensland director Mike Harvey from Runaway Bay Marina said the data provides a clear indication that State government inertia has been holding back the marina industry. “It is ironic that Queensland has the most registered recreational boats, the biggest marinas in the country and close to average boat occupancy. Yet we have a government that has been sitting on its hands and it has not sorted out the mess with three agencies meddling in the management and setting of marina lease charges. The State should be leading the country with marina investment as it is a clear competitive advantage and strongly linked to our vital tourism industry.”