POSSIBLE DIVE SITE: Artists impression of the proposed HMAS Tobruk proposed dive site.
POSSIBLE DIVE SITE: Artists impression of the proposed HMAS Tobruk proposed dive site. contributed

EXCLUSIVE: State Gov backs sinking of the HMAS Tobruk

A WORLD class dive site, capable of bringing millions of tourist dollars to the Fraser Coast region, is one step closer.

The Palaszczuk Government will today lodge a formal bid with the Department of Defence to scuttle the ex-HMAS Tobruk off the Queensland coast as a dive site.

Wide Bay's Federal Member for Hinkler, Keith Pitt, has been pushing to have the Tobruk scuttled off the coast between Bundaberg and Hervey Bay.

Now the state Govenment is behind the move but Bundaberg will have to fight it out with other regions in the state.

Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson said the government would open an Expression of Interest process for Queensland councils to formalise a site to scuttle the vessel.

She said Wide Bay had been leading the charge to have the Tobruk scuttled of the coast.

"The ex-HMAS Tobruk offers a great opportunity for Queensland to create an artificial reef and dive attraction off the coast," Ms Donaldson said.

"It has the potential to be a major drawcard for Bundaberg and the Wide Bay, growing our multi-million dollar dive tourism market and creating multiple economic, tourism and community benefits for the state.

"The HMAS Tobruk was decommissioned on July 31, 2015 after serving the Royal Australian Navy since 1981.

"The ship has supported Australian peacekeeping operations in Bougainville and East Timor and has made multiple trips to the Middle East to deliver vehicles and cargo to Australian forces in the region.

"The vessel is 127 metres long and its large deck space and interior will provide excellent access for divers."

Ms Donaldson said a new tourism dive experience off the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay coast had great potential to propel tourism growth.

"We have seen great success with the ex-HMAS Brisbane dive site since that vessel was scuttled off the Sunshine Coast in 2005," she said.

"That site attracts more than 5,000 divers a year and generates $1.5 million for the economy.

"If successful, the state government will take responsibility for cleaning, preparing and scuttling the ship."

Ms Donaldson said a number of sites - including an area off Bundaberg and Hervey Bay - were considered suitable to scuttle the ex-HMAS Tobruk.

"Councils will have an opportunity to offer an expression of interest to partner with the state government to make this new tourism venture a reality," she said.

The Department of Defence was expected to make their decision within four weeks.