A clear message for the Australian Government to take note of its marine sector was given at the start of the ASMEX2015 Conference, which opened on Tuesday in Sanctuary Cove.

“We are a boating nation with boat registrations currently at close to a million with roughly one boat for every 23 people,” Richard Chapman, president of AIMEX lead with. “We have 347 marinas with first class facilities in strategic locations all across Australia and many with superyacht berths.”

“With these figures,” Chapman told the Conference, “it is hard to understand why it seems that Australian Governments, both Liberal and Labour, do not place more importance on the ever growing industry and its importance to the country’s economy. We would like to see higher priority given to our industry.”

“Government red tape and regulation causes the Australian Super Yacht Industry huge problems,” Chapman said. “Many charters and refits are lost to our overseas competitions due to these regulations. The question AIMEX would like answered is: Whether Australia is open for business for the superyacht sector?”

In response to this charge, Gold Coast MP, Karen Andrews, told ASMEX: “Make your message to government clear about what you would like. Do not leave it open to interpretation. I seem to be the portfolio boating expert, because I was in the area a couple of weeks ago speaking at Marine15, another national recreational marine conference.”

“The fact that the Australian Superyacht and Marine Industry Export Industry conference and its associated expo is in its fifth year speaks volumes about the strength of Australia’s superyacht businesses,” she added.

“The ASMEX conference has done so much to capture and support the growth of Australia’s marine export industry and the billions it contributes to the Australian economy each year,” Andrews commented to delegates. “It’s a great initiative of AIMEX, as part of its push to develop international competitiveness in the export marine sector. Exports are high value to the economy but the domestic boat building and repair industry also is a value contributor too, with revenue in 2014-15 expected to top $1 billion.”

Andrews outlined various initiatives that the government is undertaking. She spoke of a number of companies such as Riviera and Maritimo as providing “directly or indirectly provide high value, high skill jobs for Australians. For example, their new $6 million 77 Enclosed Flybridge model, launched at the Dubai International Boat Show last March, sold immediately and the company has orders for two more.

Among the government initiatives mentioned by Andrews was the Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda, which “is the front of house of our revamped industry policy. “The government,” Andrews continued, “is also working to create a lower cost, business-friendly environment that lifts the dead hand of unnecessary regulation from business, as well as lower taxes and more competitive markets.“

Finally, Andrews said that lightening the load of red tape is a core part of paving the way for greater productivity and competitiveness. “In Government, we all know that excessive regulation and compliance pressures impose costs on businesses and waste valuable time. We have decisively pursued our commitment to cutting red tape by $1 billion a year.” she concluded.