A CRUISE terminal at Garden Island is well and truly off the table, with the New South Wales government turning its attention to two sites in Botany Bay for a third cruise terminal in Sydney.
The state government’s Cruise Development Plan, released over the weekend, points to Molineaux Point and Yarra Bay as the two preferred options for another Sydney cruise terminal. The plan calls for the state government to develop a “strategic business case” assessing the viability of the two sites.
The plan also calls for the state government to investigate the possibility of using Hayes Dock – the site of Hutchison’s Sydney International Container Terminal – as a temporary cruise terminal while a permanent one is built.
State minister for roads, maritime and freight Melinda Pavey said Sydney is Australia’s premiere cruise destination and it is vital that government take steps to ensure the industry’s future.
“Our state has been the victim of its own success when it comes to cruise with existing facilities such as the Overseas Passenger Terminal and White Bay Terminal struggling to keep up with significant growth in passenger and ship visitation,” she said.
“The Commonwealth Government has confirmed Garden Island is not a viable option for a cruise terminal due to the significant challenges in sharing berth space alongside the Navy, so it is vital we now do our homework and scope other alternatives.”
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also weighed in, saying that Garden Island had been a naval base for about 150 years, “and it will remain so”, he said.
“I know there are some people who have argued in the cruise ship industry that the naval base should be vacated by the Navy,” he said.
“Garden Island is a naval base and the ships of the Royal Australian Navy will always have the priority there, not – with great respect to others – cruise ships.”
Federal trade and tourism minister Steven Ciobo welcomed the Cruise Development Plan and said the Turnbull government would work with New South Wales on its strategic business case.
“Sydney is Australia’s cruise gateway. Improving access will ensure we keep attracting the big cruise liners which importantly will also then visit the regional ports,” Mr Ciobo said.
“More ships means more tourists which will help drive economic growth and create new jobs.”
State tourism minister Adam Marshall said the measures in the plan would help keep the cruise industry powering along and support cruise tourism in regional NSW.
“NSW’s cruise industry supports 12,800 jobs and injects $1.6 billion into our economy each year so it is vital we take the steps necessary to propel the industry’s future growth,” Mr Marshall said.
“The NSW Government will work with industry to identify solutions to maximise capacity at Sydney’s two existing cruise terminals in Sydney harbour, while also working with partners to support growth in key regions such as Eden, Newcastle and Port Kembla.”