New South Wales premier Mike Baird is urging the Prime Minister to allow more cruise ships to dock at Sydney’s naval base, Garden Island, as cruise lines claim the Overseas Passenger Terminal is too full.
Currently the cruise industry has a two-year agreement with the Royal Australian Navy, that allows up to three ships per year to stop at the island, according to the Daily Telegraph.
And although the Navy is allowing a two-year extension to the agreement, Premier Baird says it isn’t enough to meet demand.
This year, Sydney will welcome a record of 290 passenger ships during the summer season.
The industry is growing at an average rate of 20 percent every year and will be worth $2 billion at the end of this financial year.
However, major cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Carnival have said the harbour is just too busy, which will restrict growth unless more capacity is introduced east of the Harbour Bridge.
Ann Sherry, chief executive of Carnival Australia, welcomed the Premier’s backing, saying it was essential to meet the target of one million passengers next year.
“The Navy will probably put me on the front of one of its ships and take it out to sea and sink it, but it is important for our industry,” she said.
Ms Sherry has led the industry is pushing for Garden Island over White Bay, which she described today as a good facility but no substitute for Garden Island because many large vessels won’t go under Sydney Harbour Bridge.
She maintained the industry was contributing more than $3 billion to the Australian economy.
She revealed that talks were under way with the Queensland Government for new port facilities on the Brisbane River.