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Kangaroo Point super yacht plan a bridge too far despite river building boom

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The Palaszczuk government wanted to make Brisbane more attractive to superyachts but then travel – even for the rich and famous – became complicated.

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In March 2020, the government announced a 12-month trial of a superyacht buoy mooring on the Brisbane River below the Kangaroo Point cliffs would start within months.

At the time, Cabinet minister Cameron Dick talked up the potential of superyachts to contribute more than $1.1 billion to gross state product and support nearly 8000 jobs by 2021 in South East Queensland alone.

“We want to attract more superyachts to Queensland and Brisbane, and we want them to stay longer and spend more while they are here,” Dick said.

But the trial hit trouble early. The proposed mooring site clashed with Brisbane City Council plans for a Kangaroo Point green bridge, forcing the government to consider alternative sites while consulting on the original proposal.

Now, more than a year later, the trial has been shelved altogether.

“The superyacht buoy mooring trial is currently on hold while government assesses the impact COVID-19 has had on the industry,” said Maritime Safety Queensland general manager Angus Mitchell.

“When this impact is better understood, we will revisit the Brisbane superyacht buoy mooring proposal.”

The green bridge will be part of a building boom on that stretch of the river, with a new city ferry terminal and separate Moreton Bay ferry terminal being built next to the Howard Smith Wharves and developers pushing ahead with plans for two towers on the Eagle Street Pier site. While the fate of iconic paddle steamers remains unclear, the waters around Petrie Bight will only become busier.

The government has supported a superyacht berth on the Gold Coast, however it remains to be seen when a newly completed cruise ship terminal at the Port of Brisbane will accept any ships. Even the superyachts in Australian waters have not been immune to the travel dramas of the pandemic and, like freighters and oil tankers, have had to quarantine passengers and crew with COVID-19.

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