NSW goes to the polls tomorrow in a close-fought battle that could mean the end of the cruise industry’s hopes of expansion.
Labor and the Liberals are neck-and-neck, with Labor ahead in some surveys.
Their leader, Michael Daley, has already vowed to “kill stone dead” the idea of putting cruise ships at Port Botany.
And even though the Federal Government has made the project a priority, the looming election for national seats in May could mean Bill Shorten calls the shots.
And there can be little doubt that he would be unlikely to impose a Port Botany development on NSW with Mr Daley in charge.
So with Garden Island ruled out, that leaves Sydney expansion with no-where to go.
Meanwhile Queensland is quietly showing NSW the way, with Brisbane’s Luggage Point already signing up megaliners for its kick-off season in 2020.
Royal Caribbean announced this week it will homeport Radiance of the Seas at the terminal from November 2020, sailing more than 20 cruises and giving the economy a $20 million boost from passenger spending.
Susan Bonner, managing director of Royal Caribbean International in Australia and New Zealand, promised a one-fifth increase in sailings in future, adding returning to Queensland after a three-year absence is an important part of the line’s growth plans.
Carnival Cruise Lines has already announced its 2,124-passenger Carnival Spirit will operate out of the city year-round starting in 2020.
The ship currently is based in Sydney.
The Carnival Spirit would offer voyages out of Brisbane to the South Pacific with stops in Vanuatu and New Caledonia. It’ll also offer short trips to the North Queensland region of Australia.
Port of Brisbane Chief Executive Roy Cummins said Luggage Point opens up ‘a whole new world’ of opportunities for cruising in Queensland.
“Providing capacity for mega cruise liners like Radiance of the Seas means more investment in the region and more jobs,” Cummins said.
President of Carnival Australia and P&O Cruises Australia, Sture Myrmell, said the new terminal was a ‘win-win’ for cruising as well as the Queensland economy.
“It means Brisbane can take its place on the world cruising map for some of the globe’s most iconic cruise lines with ships too large to use existing facilities at Portside,” Mr Myrmell said.
“The terminal will be a major piece of national infrastructure and the single most important investment in cruise tourism in Queensland in 12 years.”