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Thursday, 17 June 2010
Page: 5799

Mr SLIPPER (4:30 PM) —On 29 October, Day for Daniel 2010 is being held. That has been organised by the Daniel Morcombe Foundation, which was established by Bruce and Denise Morcombe to commemorate the disappearance of their son Daniel in December 2003 on the Sunshine Coast. I am urging all members to wear a red tie in the parliament on 29 October. Those members who are not able to wear a tie for reasons of gender ought to wear something else red. That will highlight our support for the principle of child safety in 2010. I am writing to all members of the federal parliament and of the Queensland state parliament to encourage them to wear a red tie or a red item of clothing on 29 October.

My heart goes out to Bruce and Denise Morcombe. To have one’s child disappear, as happened to them in December 2003, is an extraordinarily tragic event. What they did was go out and establish this foundation with a view to making sure that other children in Australia are safe. I met with Mrs Morcombe just recently. She is a person of incredible character, fortitude and principle, with an incredible ability to convey the message of the importance of child safety.

So I want to encourage all members of parliament to wear some red on 29 October this year. If the election has been held, I intend to write to all new members of parliament to encourage their participation as well. The Day for Daniel is an important opportunity for all of us to indicate our support for the principle of child safety. I think that in Australia in 2010 child safety is something we all support and is a principle which in fact unites us.

I would also like to say that recently I held a meeting with key stakeholders, including the dive industry and the University of the Sunshine Coast, to support the sinking of the HMAS Tobruk as a dive wreck off the Sunshine Coast when she is decommissioned in 2012. The Brisbane was sunk off the Sunshine Coast in 2005 and since then has become an artificial reef, a magnet for dive tourists from around the world, boosting employment, and of course boosting our marine stock and helping our marine environment. These ships, which have served our nation for decades, will actually serve as artificial dive wrecks for 500 years.

So this is a win-win situation. It is a win for the local community because we get additional jobs; it creates work not only in the dive industry but also in the hospitality industry, including restaurants, motels, taxis and so on. It gives us the opportunity to remember the wonderful service these ships like the Brisbane—and, if we get the Tobruk, the Tobruk also—have given to our nation. It is also a win for our marine environment. We would plan to situate the Brisbane and the Tobruk about one nautical mile apart, and that means that dive tourists could come to dive on one ship one day and on the other another day and use the third day to orient themselves in the area.

The Adelaide is a ship that has been prepared for sinking off the Central Coast of New South Wales. Some $7 million has been spent on preparing that ship for sinking. I understand the ship is off the Central Coast awaiting sinking, but legal action by a local group has prevented that ship from being sunk. I have called for that ship to be moved 1,000 kilometres north to the Sunshine Coast, where we would have her as a companion dive wreck.

The dive industry is very important, tourism is important and employment is important, and the addition of the Tobruk to the Brisbane as a companion dive wreck will boost the economy, which is very important. If we were to get the Adelaide as well, those ships would make us a world-class dive destination. People would come from right around the world to dive off the Sunshine Coast.

That would of course be very important for the Sunshine Coast and for South-East Queensland. It would help us remember the wonderful service these ships have given and at the same time it would boost fish stocks and our marine environment. It really is a win-win situation—all winners, no losers. I encourage the government, whoever the government is at the time, to look favourably on permitting the Tobruk to be sunk off the Sunshine Coast—and, if the Central Coast of New South Wales does not want the Adelaide, we would like that as well. (Time expired)