The NSW Government has selected Port Botany as a possible cruise ship hub, after the Federal Government rejected Garden Island in Sydney Harbour, adjacent to the naval base, as the site for a new cruise terminal.
Yarra Bay and Molineaux Point in Port Botany have been identified as new sites, which could be developed into a third cruise ship terminal in Sydney, as the Overseas Passenger Terminal and White Bay are now struggling to serve the number of ships arriving during the peak season.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Garden Island had been a naval base for over a century and “….will remain so. I know there are some people that have argued in the cruise ship industry that the naval base should be vacated by the Navy … so that cruise ships can come in,” he acknowledged.
He said whether Port Botany was chosen as an alternative was “a matter for the State Government”.
The CEO of the Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF), Margy Osmond, said there was a need to support the cruise industry to cope with demand.
“If Port Botany is an option, let’s get on with it,” she said. “This is an industry that pours billions of dollars into the Australian economy every year, bringing visitors from all over the world … and that visitor experience to date has begun with a colourful Sydney Harbour arrival.
“Failure to find the right solution in Sydney also has ramifications for our near Pacific neighbours who will also miss out on cruise traffic if Sydney loses its lustre as a cruise hub,” she warned.
NSW Tourism Minister Adam Marshall said he was disappointed by the Federal Government’s decision not to allow ships to dock at Garden Island.
“That was our first preference, both of the NSW Government and of the cruise industry,” Marshall said. “But of course we don’t own or control Garden Island, that is only controlled by the Commonwealth and they have the final say.”
The NSW Government also said it was also looking to develop terminals in other regional towns, including Eden, Newcastle and Port Kembla.