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Tasmania rejects federal dive site plan

A federal offer to turn a decommissioned warship into a dive site off the east coast of Tasmania has been scuttled by the state’s government.

The plan to sink ex-HMAS Darwin at Skeleton Bay was not financially feasible or in the best interests of the state, State Growth Minister Peter Gutwein said on Friday.

An initial cost of $12 million to the state plus ongoing maintenance of $600,000 per year could be better invested in Tasmania’s health and education systems, he added.

The proposal to sink the 138m frigate split communities in the Bay of Fires area.

Break O’Day Mayor Mick Tucker wanted the dive site to boost tourism but opponents were worried of its environmental impact.

“The government has received numerous representations from the local community, both in support of the project and against it,” Mr Gutwein said.

“There is no doubt that some will be disappointed with the outcome.”

Senator Jonathon Duniam said the decision of his Liberal colleagues was deeply disappointing.

“This is a blow to the St Helens community who were excited at the prospect of this new tourism attraction and the possible economic activity it would generate,” he said in a statement.

Ex-HMAS Darwin, the first Australian ship deployed to the Persian Gulf in 1990, was decommissioned last year.

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