The super yacht Silent World docked in Bundaberg
The super yacht Silent World docked in Bundaberg Craig Warhurst

SUPER CHARGED: Cashed up superyachts to propel economy

THE idyllic beaches, picturesque scenery and tropical weather of the Whitsundays will soon be the jewel in the crown for superyachts sailing into Australian waters.

Legislation to remove import duties and cut red tape passed through parliament yesterday.

Dawson MP George Christensen said the Special Recreational Vessels Bill would supercharge the Whitsundays economy and put Australia on par with other destinations such as Fiji and New Zealand.

"This unlocks a number of exciting trade and tourism opportunities all along the coast, particularly for the Whitsundays, and I know there were a couple of superyachts poised and waiting for this legislation to pass, so we will start to see the positive impacts of this commonsense legislation almost immediately," Mr Christensen said.

"There are about 5000 superyacht vessels around the world and this bill will allow Australia to take advantage of this thriving industry, bringing passengers from all over the world to sail in our waters.

"The Whitsundays is ready to welcome superyachts to our region, with the Coral Sea Marina preparing to host the fourth annual Australian Superyacht Rendezvous next year."

AEC Group research estimates the weekly spend of a superyacht is about $174,300. 

The legislation would unlock almost 12,000 jobs and about $1.64 billion in extra revenue nationally.

It was estimated 70 per cent of that revenue would be shared between the Whitsundays and Cairns.

Superyacht Australia chief executive David Good welcomed news of the legislation, and said it was now a "critical time to act".

Senator Nita Green said tourism was a crucial part of the Queensland economy.

"I look forward to seeing more super yachts visiting Queensland and the boost to our local economies that should flow," she said.

Superyacht opportunities were discussed during a meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Greater Whitsunday Alliance representatives and Mackay business leaders in Canberra last week.