Bound for Botany Bay

THOUSANDS of Sydney’s future cruise passengers look set to alight among the container wharves of Port Botany under the NSW Government’s recently released Cruise Development Plan, which closes the door on any new facilities within Sydney Harbour.

After more than a decade of debate and a worsening bottleneck at Sydney’s existing cruise terminals, the government has now ruled out any shared facilities at the Garden Island Navy base, despite the recommendations of a reference group headed by former Liberal leader and naval officer Peter Collins.

Instead, the government will examine the feasibility of two other sites highlighted by the reference group — Molineaux Point and Yarra Bay, both further south at Port Botany.

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The NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey, said Garden Island was no longer an option, based on word from Canberra.

“The Commonwealth Government has confirmed Garden Island is not a viable option for a cruise terminal due to the significant challenges in sharing berth space alongside the Navy, so it is vital we now do our homework and scope other alternatives,” she said.

The Cruise Development Plan involves preparing a strategic business case for a third Sydney cruise berth at one of the Port Botany sites, while also exploring options to maximise the use of the existing Overseas Passenger Terminal and White Bay Cruise Terminal within Sydney Harbour.

The plan will also look at using Hayes Dock — also at Port Botany — as an interim solution to Sydney’s cruise capacity constraints.

While cruise lines have welcomed the plan, there has been disappointment among those who had championed the more central and scenic location at Garden Island.

CLIA Australasia Chair Sture Myrmell said the industry would work constructively with the NSW Government in relation to the feasibility studies.

“Our industry has been advocating for a solution to Sydney’s infrastructure constraints for some years and having a clear plan of action with the NSW Government is a step forward to achieve greater certainty and a platform for growth,” Myrmell said.