I have always had a soft spot for the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show (SCIBS), where, in 2005, we launched the very first edition of Ocean. Over the past 12 years, so much has changed in our industry, though unfortunately one important change that has not materialised is the freedom for allowances for foreign-flagged superyachts to enter Australia and charter. The conditions still require a 10 percent GST on the value of the yacht – a mighty deterrent for most.
In my very first editor’s note in 2005, I mentioned that one of our aims launching a new title to the market would be as a flagbearer for Australia, to encourage the increasing visitation of large vessels down to our sensational part of the world. Rereading that edition (which you may do online) brings back memories of the frustration of industry leaders devoting their time trying to persuade the Government that legislation is required to not only grow our industry but also to tap into a large revenue stream for the Australian economy.
Move forward 12 years and we are still in the same position, with only slight progress.
In 2005, Bill Barry-Cotter wrote about the lack of government support: “It needs a complete overhaul to bring it into the 21st century. Our industry, as with many others, is hamstrung by bureaucracy.”
Only half in jest, BBC suggested we abolish state governments. “That would get rid of 75 percent of the bureaucracy.” Today, his sentiments are more pertinent and more popular than ever.
Over this time our neighbours – New Zealand, Fiji, and Tahiti – are welcoming superyachts to charter, making it an easy process and have seen the benefits with an increase of visitation. Even Indonesia is ahead of Australia, currently approving measures that make charter easier in their waters.
In 2016, Superyacht Australia initiated the first comprehensive national survey covering the economic value of Australia’s superyacht industry – every facet from manufacturing and refit, to jobs and suppliers – identifying the potential of this lucrative sector and the barriers unlocking it. This is the first time that this type of report has been completed, spelling out if the government fixed the crippling legislation what the benefits would be to local businesses.
The Economic Impact Survey (EIS) findings have just been released and it provides startling figures of potential growth if the new policy changes were to be implemented.
The growth predicted in our industry with policy support is as high as AU$2.21 billion. Up to 8,100 more jobs would be created and GST revenue generated by the Australian superyacht industry would increase from $78.6 million to $118.3 million.
These types of figures will certainly prick up the ears of local government, and we hope good sense will prevail.
In this edition, we examine the fundamentals of the survey, with industry, stakeholder and government comment. Have we now been presented with the perfect storm for change? Are the levies poised to burst or must we keep pushing until they do?
The EIS will be presented in full detail at the 2017 Australian Superyacht, Marine Export & Commercial Marine Industry Conference (ASMEX) from 22 to 24 May, which precedes SCIBS, where Ocean Media will exhibit from our usual location opposite the VIP tent. We’d like to see you there and hear your thoughts on all the issues, innovations and forecasts for the future.
Our cover feature, the mighty Narvalo, was showcased at last year’s Cannes Yachting Festival, the first Nauta Air 108 from the very successful Cantiere delle Marche yard. The designers were given the brief to enrich the interiors with sculptures and decorative items that evoke the marine environment. Within the main staircase, they have displayed a giant reproduction of a narwhal horn, the creature for which Narvalo was named.
Also reviewed is the new Princess 49 motor yacht, recently delivered to Australia and keeping to their core values of design and technology; and the Sunreef 60 LOFT, the smallest of their range, although with proportions that give the feeling of a much larger yacht.
Over many years there has been a strong synergy between automotive brands and their on-water equivalents. This edition’s Tenders and Toys section sifts through the sands of time, from the pioneers to the present-day collections of automotive marques converting to waterborne wonder-craft.
Other key features include an interview with Tony de Felice, owner of Vicious Rumour, the Azimut 95 and happily known as a Ferrari tragic; Ocean Design delves into the rise of the Explorer vessel, and we head into the final chapter of the 35th America’s Cup. Battle lines are drawn, and the real action is about to begin. Hold on tight!
Enjoy the read and hopefully we’ll toast yet another year of publishing Ocean with you at one of the upcoming events or see you out on the water.
Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief
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