The State’s Transport Minister, Andrew Constance, has firmly ruled out suggestions that he go back to Garden Island for more cruise capacity after a protest rally at Yarra Bay at the weekend.
“There’s been a debate about Garden Island for years and we’ve gotten nowhere. Sydney Harbour is full and we need a solution for the big ships,” his office told Cruise Passenger in a statement.
Cruise companies have given up hope that Garden Island could be a solution to Sydney Harbour’s capacity problems, after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ruled it out during his tenure.
But former NSW Liberal leader Peter Collins raised it again at the weekend as he joined over a thousand Port Botany locals, politicians, Indigenous leaders and environmentalists at Yarra Bay to protest at plans to use Port Botany.
Mr Collins suggested state and federal governments should reconsider Sydney’s Garden Island as a site for a third cruise terminal, disputing suggestions that berthing cruise liners at the naval facility will be a threat to national security.
However, Minister Constance has confirmed that Garden Island is not on the Government’s agenda for the next cruise terminal. “Ultimately, we can keep debating Garden Island until the cows come home, but we need to look at alternatives and that’s what we are doing now with industry.
“There are locations like Botany Bay, where you are able to have people get off and then spend a couple of days in the city either side of their cruise.
“There has been no decision made and we will continue to consult, with local stakeholders and the community, in finding a location for the city’s third terminal,” Mr Constance says.
Yesterday’s rally was to oppose plans to build a $600 million cruise terminal at Yarra Bay, a cove on the north-eastern side of Botany Bay, since the federal government ruled out Garden Island in 2017.
NSW Ports Authority acting Chief Executive Philip Holliday told residents that they would be consulted over the potential for a cruise terminal. ‘‘In recent months, we have all seen some of your frustrations and we hear your concerns about the potential third terminal.
‘‘The Defence Force position has never really changed irrespective of attempts by NSW governments,’’ he said. ‘‘The narrow portion of land that [the state’s roads agency] holds at Garden Island is just too thin to service and operate the berth for regular cruise ships.’’
Cruise Passenger visited Yarra Bay recently to see the sites under consideration. View our video here.
The Port Authority’s “drop-in” sessions will allow community members living in the area to meet the authority’s project team, ask questions and give their feedback on the proposed third cruise terminal between Yarra Bay and Molineux Point.
The information sessions to be held at Prince Henry Centre, Little Bay, have been scheduled for 29 November from 11am to 2pm; 30 November from 10am to 1pm and 4 December from 4pm to 7pm.
There will be second round of information sessions to be held in mid-2020.