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Campaign to encourage superyachts to our area

By Mark Beale

SUPERYACHTS, owned by the world’s rich and famous multi-billionaires, have the potential to bring in at least $50,000 a week to a region’s economy, yet Australia and the Whitsundays is not even on the industry’s radar.

Charmaine du Plessis, who is the charter manager for one of the world’s leading superyacht companies, Burgess, says the reasons for that are taxation rules and restrictions placed on yachts over 35 metres in length.

Last week, Ms du Plessis travelled to the Whitsundays from Miami, USA, to meet with Abell Point Marina owner Paul Darrouzet.

Mr Darrouzet is extremely keen to see a superyacht industry established in the Whitsundays and Ms du Plessis says she has clients who it would certainly suit.

Mr Darrouzet invited representatives from all three tiers of government along, to hear firsthand from Ms du Plessis about how the region was missing out.

After listening to Ms du Plessis, state MP Jason Costigan, said an opportunity to boost our economy was “just going to waste”. Dawson MP George Christensen agreed the Federal Government needed to remove impediments to superyachts entering the Great Barrier Reef marine park area and help facilitate and streamline “efficient and friendly ways of paying GST”.

He was also excited about the prospect of the Whitsundays marketing itself as the superyacht destination for Australia and the potential economic benefits that would bring.

Mr Christensen said he would take the matter up with Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt, “but we need all levels of government supporting this”.

“And we need the local community backing it and I’m sure they will when they know that $50,000 each week could potentially be brought in. That’s money that translates into jobs.”

Whitsunday mayor Jennifer Whitney said from a local government perspective she also supported the idea.

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