The Gold Coast project ‘bigger than Adani’

A Gold Coast business leader says a booming marine precinct in the city will bring in more jobs than the controversial Adani mine development and the theme parks combined.

An announcement yesterday revealed dredging of the Coomera River will be completed in September, which will ultimately open up the area for further marine business and expand its capacity to service multimillion-dollar super yachts.

The waterways authority has revealed more than 85,000 cubic metres of silt will have been cleared by completion.


Artist’s impressions of the marina precinct.
Artist’s impressions of the marina precinct.

Tony Longhurst, owner of The Boat Works, says the $10 million Gold Coast Waterway Authority dredging program which has taken more than 10 years to complete, has been the boost the area needed.

"To have the 3.5 metres of water at low tide is going to bring bigger boats and bigger yachts in, which will create many jobs," he said.

"The more boats, the more jobs we have here.

"Forget about Adani and all the other things that are happening in Queensland, the jobs are happening at the marine precinct right now.''


Tony Longhurst in front of the planned designs.
Tony Longhurst in front of the planned designs.

Mr Longhurst - who is currently undertaking a $100 million marina expansion that will double the boatyard's footprint, include dry storage for up to 200 boats, expand refit facilities and build a 50-berth marina and waterfront village with boutiques and restaurants - said the area as a whole could expect an additional 5000 jobs over the next year.

"Cameron Dick should come down here, Annastacia Palaszczuk should come down here and see what is going on," he said, urging the State Development Minister and Premier to inspect the precinct.

"The marine precinct is fantastic. I think we probably do more for the area than all the theme parks.

"The general public and the politicians have just got no idea."

Asked how much money the marine precinct contributed to the economy, Mr Longhurst said it was incalculable.

"It is telephone numbers. I would hate to think. I know what comes through the boat yard here is just mind numbing."

Village Roadshow theme parks chief operating officer Bikash Randhawa said he was "speechless" about Mr Longhurst's claim, but agreed any progress would be good for the Gold Coast.


Gold Coast Waterways Authority CEO Hal Morris. Picture by Scott Fletcher
Gold Coast Waterways Authority CEO Hal Morris. Picture by Scott Fletcher

"It is a huge claim and I struggle to see how the marine precinct will bring in 7 million people, but we will have to wait and see. It is a great thing for the Gold Coast either way.

"We (theme parks) bring in millions for hotels so between them and us we should see occupancy rates on the Gold Coast at 99 per cent.

"It is fantastic the Coast is booming."

Waterways authority CEO Hal Morris said once the dredging was completed there was an opportunity for private organisations to co-ordinate dredging programs, to further open the marina, creating "off-ramps'' from the main thoroughfare of the river to private workshops.

'This is an investment in the Gold Coast's economy. We didn't want to wait until later this year to start working on the best way to use the facility,'' he said.

"We understand that marine, tourism and recreation industries and the people who work in

those industries depend on access to our waterways. Access is also important for people

living in waterside communities.''

Mr Morris said more than 85,000 cubic metres of silt would be cleared from the river by the completion of the project, which was the equivalent to filling Cbus Stadium to a depth of 17 metres.