A decision by the Tasmanian Liberal State Government to turn down an offer of a free decommissioned Navy frigate to become a tourism-boosting diving wreck in the Bay of Fires’ Skeleton Bay on Tasmania's east coast has drawn heavy fire from Tasmanian Nationals senator Steve Martin.
"The State Government asked Canberra for this ship so it just beggars belief that it now says it doesn't want it," Senator Martin said.
"I am skeptical about the State Treasurer's claim that the scuttling and ongoing costs are prohibitive."
"The State Government says the money would be better spent on health and education. I would be more sympathetic if it committed to redirecting the alleged $12 million cost to regional hospitals."
Senator Martin said the Liberal State Government deserved praise for making strong progress in terms of the state's finances, but that this was another example of it neglecting economic growth outside Hobart.
"This dive wreck would be there forever thus permanently boosting dive tourism for a part of the state in much need of jobs and growth," Senator Martin said.
"The Queensland Labor Government accepted HMAS Tobruk which was in June sunk off the coast between Bundaberg and Hervey Bay and is set to attract dive enthusaists from all over the world."
"If it is good enough for Queensland, it should be good enough for Tasmania."
HMAS Darwin was a guided missile frigate which defended Australia for thirty-three years before its decommission ten months ago.
Notable achievements include peacekeeping in the Persian Gulf and off the Solomon Islands and East Timor.
It was responsible for the seizure of a ton of heroin off the African Coast and more than six tons of hashish in the Indian Ocean