The federal government has outlined plans to help NSW’s cruise industry, announcing it will be financing the search for a third Sydney cruise terminal.
The development of this vital piece of infrastructure, which the cruise lines have indicated is sorely needed, will bring in billions of tourism dollars.
Currently the cruise ship industry brings in $5 billion in economic value every year to Australia, with Sydney accounting for 63 per cent of that figure.
But Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal as well as White Bay are at capacity.
Lines like Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Line have said they will bring more ships to Sydney, but the harbour is running out of space.
In the Federal Budget this week, the government committed $300,000 to investigating new sites that will help meet the demands of the cruise industry.
Joel Katz from the Cruise Lines International Association welcomed the commitment from the federal government, saying that this was a much needed piece of infrastructure, east of the Harbour Bridget.
“This funding is a recognition of the growth of the cruise industry and the significant contribution that cruise delivers to the Australian economy,” he said.
“CLIA’s recent Economic Impact Report showed that the industry contributes in excess of $5b to the Australian economy, $3.1 billion coming from NSW, and by addressing the capacity constraints in Sydney, we have the opportunity to ensure the industry continues to grow.
“Sydney is Australia’s cruise gateway and ensuring we have the capacity to accommodate more ships, means we will see more international ships bringing international visitors to our shores, as well as the prospect of more homeported ships – which would have a massive flow on effect to businesses and communities far beyond the ships and ports.
“We look forward to continuing to work with all levels of government and peak industry groups to determine the best solution for Sydney and Australia.”
Carnival Australia, which represents major brands like Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line and P&O cruises welcomed the commitment.
“We welcome this because it acknowledges the growth in the cruise ship industry and the need for extra berthing options east of the Sydney Harbour Bridge,” a spokeswoman said.
Around 800,000 people sailed from Sydney in 2017 and it’s believed the numbers will grow.
But while there has been an industry push to utilise Garden Island, the federal government will investigate options at Port Botany.
Labor MP Ron Hoenig said earlier this week that the plan to build a cruise terminal would be ‘dreadful’ and could be avoided by leasing space at Garden Island from the Navy.
Mr Hoenig told the Southern Couriern that Naval ships could transfer to Glebe Island berths to allow cruise ships to dock at Garden Island.
“The Liberals’ dreadful plan to bring cruise ships to Botany Bay is a joke. Apart from just putting thousands more cars and trucks on our crippled road network, where are these tens of thousands of tourist going to go?
“We need access to Garden Island for the larger cruise ships that cannot fit under Sydney Harbour Bridge, to capture valuable economic activity in Sydney.”
He also believes that the cost of leasing berths, which would amount to $143 million, would cost far less a season that building a new Botany terminal.
The federal government’s report states, “This option involves leasing 650 metres of wharf space … specifically for priority cruise ship use, and for periods initially ranging from three months (i.e. December through February), butwith scope to be extended as cruise ship demand increases.
“To offset the loss of Fleet Base Berths 2-5 for at least three months during Navy’s peak demand period, and potentially for up to seven months in the longer term, Defence would be fully compensated for the additional costs involved, including transfer of the 467 metres at Glebe Island Berths 1 and 2.”