Day 1 of this year’s ASMEX Conference attracts ovr 150 delegates

On the first day of ASMEX, the Australian Superyacht, Marine Export & Commercial Marine Industry Conference, a clear message was presented to the 150-plus delegates from a dozen countries that Queensland is Australia’s superyacht state.

This designation was presented by Michael Healy, MP for Cairns and the Queensland government’s superyacht strategy champion, who officially opened the 9th edition of ASMEX.

“The superyacht industry has so much to offer Queensland, and Queensland has so much to offer the superyacht industry,” he said. “As the Queensland superyacht champion, it’s my job to take the Palaszczuk government’s fantastic superyacht strategy to industry; to tell you how we, the state, can help you power forward.”

The five-year strategy, which aims to boost the superyacht sector across Queensland, was launched at ASMEX 2018. In his role as strategy champion and working with Superyacht Australia, Healy acts as an advocate for state support at a federal level.

Healy added: “It’s been a year since the Palaszczuk government released its superyacht strategy, and the flow-on benefits from our priorities outlined in the document are starting to reach local operators, which is great to see. Most recently, we announced the first round of recipients from our A$335,000 Superyacht Industry Development Fund.”

Through the fund, six Queensland businesses received a financial boost to help them make new international industry connections and grow their capabilities. These six were Gold Coast City Marina and Shipyard, Rivergate Marina and Shipyard, Abell Point Marina, Seaspec Marine Services, Trinity Fire Services and Carter Marine Services.

Healy explained: “Our government is also taking on board the feedback we received from this first round to update the programme for the next round, proposed to open in the second half of 2019.”

“In other great news for industry capability,” Healy added, “the first tranche of 13 trainees has graduated from TAFE (Technical & Further Education) SkillsTech’s superyacht welding course, with support from the Palaszczuk government. As a sign of just how in-demand these skills are, all 13 of the graduates have already found jobs in the maritime industry, and I’m sure future graduates will be welcomed with open arms too.”

Healy explained: “Central to our state’s growth in superyachts are locations like Sanctuary Cove – a perfect setting for this wonderful conference. That’s why our government is so eager to open up the south-east further, to attract greater superyacht activity in these spectacular SE Queensland waters.”

Healy took the opportunity to outline other recent superyacht happenings. This included, for the first time, the berthing of two superyachts in Brisbane’s CBD, giving their passengers direct access to everything the state capital has to offer. “That was made possible,” he explained, “thanks to a partnership between the Queensland government, Maritime Safety Queensland and Rivergate Marina. We also helped MY Suri berth at Gold Coast City Marina for repairs, a great win for all involved.”

Reference was also made to plans for The Spit, a key area at the entrance to Broadwater on the Gold Coast. Healy commented: “Another recent milestone that will help us achieve that goal is the inclusion of superyacht berths in the recently released draft master plan for the Gold Coast Spit. This master plan is more than a blueprint – it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to revitalise this iconic part of our state, and I’m pleased to say that maritime opportunities are a key part of this work.”

He added: “The release of the final master plan will trigger a raft of new economic opportunities for the Gold Coast, be it tourism, recreation, entertainment, retail. And through these opportunities, more jobs will be created for the city, including marine industry jobs.” Plans for the Spit could include a superyacht marina facility.

Healy presented a vision of greater significance for Queensland saying: “To me, Queensland is much more than Australia’s premier superyacht destination. It’s a state with the potential to be the premier superyacht destination in Asia-Pacific. Achieving that goal will see the creation of thousands of new jobs and will generate hundreds of millions of dollars for our economy. And with industry and government working successfully in partnership, it’s a goal that is entirely within our reach.”

In other actions, Healy pointed out that “the Queensland government has extended its support for ASMEX for another two years, beating out fierce competition from other southern states. Additionally, our support for the international business lounge at the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show has also been extended.”

Concluding he said: “The Palaszczuk government is invested in superyachts, and we’re committed to creating opportunities for all who want to build their futures in this exciting industry.”