THE Government of New South Wales is ruling out the construction of a cruise ship terminal at Yarra Bay, two prominent Labor members of parliament announced on Friday.
The proposal met with fierce opposition from the local community, which feared Yarra Bay’s unique history and natural environment would be destroyed by the construction of a terminal.
State Member of Parliament for Maroubra Michael Daley, who represents the seat in which Yarra Bay is located, has led the opposition, running a prolonged “Save Yarra Bay” campaign alongside the local ‘Save the Bay Coalition’, as well as Randwick and Bayside councils, and the La Perouse Aboriginal Land Council.
A business case for the terminal proposal was undertaken pre-pandemic, as cruise capacity in Sydney Harbour became constrained, and many sections of the sector pressed for the new facility, located in South Sydney.
However state Minister for Transport Jo Haylen has declared the cruise terminal is “not going to happen” under the Minns administration, declaring Yarra Bay a “precious place” and a “priceless historical site”.
“It has been occupied and cared for by the First Nations traditional owners for many thousands of years,” she said.
“It is the site of the first landing in Australia of Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet.
“Despite two-and-a-half centuries of development around it, Yarra Bay remains essentially in its pristine and original natural state”.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) said the lack of a viable additional cruise berth in Sydney jeopardises the city’s standing as a world-class cruise gateway, adding it is “disappointed” the announcement was made without an alternative solution.
“Establishing additional cruise ship facilities in or around Sydney is essential to the future prosperity of the sector,” CLIA told travelBulletin in a statement.
“Capacity constraints in Sydney prevent the industry operating to its full potential and have flow-on effects for other destinations around Australia.
“Cruise industry success across the region cannot be realised without investment in appropriate port infrastructure.”
The Port Authority of NSW is now examining alternative ways to increase terminal capacity for cruise ships, and will report back to the government on other viable options.
“Port Authority continues to work through the next steps to be addressed in considering an additional cruise terminal for Sydney, including the long-term projections of cruise passenger demand,” a spokesperson for the organisation told tB the week prior to the project’s official cancellation.
“We are committed to keeping the community and industry updated.”
The announcement circuitously fulfils a promise Daley made as Labor leader in 2018 to “kill” the proposal if the opposition he led at the time was elected.