Advocates of the Tobruk Skeleton Bay project are awaiting the Navy’s final decision as to which state will secure decommissioned naval vessel HMAS Tobruk.
Tobruk Skeleton Bay project manager Peter Paulsen said he was hoping to receive word of the decision over the next few weeks, having played a considerable role in submitting Tasmania’s bid ahead of the August 8 deadline.
“Anecdotally we've heard around the edges that we could expect a response by the end of September, but it's hard to get any real confirmation of whether that's accurate or not,” Mr Paulsen said.
“We're simply waiting on a response.”
Mr Paulsen said while he was not confident the state would be awarded the vessel, he hoped Tasmania’s preparation would stand it in good stead against bids from competing states.
“One of the things we learnt from going to Sydney earlier this year for the ship inspection was that at the forefront of the Navy's mind is a risk to reputation; they're very conscious that if anything goes awry with these sorts of exercises it will reflect poorly on the Navy.
“Where I think we have a slight advantage is that... the Queensland government have said ‘we want the vessel, and once we get it we'll decide where it will finish up’.
“This means they haven't done any of the homework or any of the baseline work that we've done, they don't know its destination yet.
“Tasmania should offer (the Navy) a great deal more comfort in the fact that we've found a location that is perfect for this vessel to sit and we've demonstrated it's a safe, secure location.”
However, not all St Helens residents are hoping the vessel is awarded to Tasmania.
St Helens ex-fisheries inspector Rob McIntyre said there were plenty of people on the East Coast who would be distraught to see the vessel sunk in Skeleton Bay.
“If they decided to do it there'll be bigger protests than what was at the Franklin Dam; there's a lot of people around here who have really strong views on our marine environment,” Mr McIntyre
“Our biggest concern is the marine environment and that one day bits of the broken boat will wash up all over our beautiful beaches, it's not something that Tasmania really wants.”
Related: Clock ticking for Tobruk