SYDNEY: Mr. Peter Collins, a former politician and Navy officer of Australia has suggested that Garden Island could be the answer to Sydney’s troubled infrastructure issues, for which there’s still no clear solution.
Collins proposed the idea that holiday cruise vessels be granted greater access to Garden Island, the Sydney navy base, or if not, the construction of a new, completely new terminal.
The cruise industry in Sydney has long required more space for international cruise lines to dock down under, and recently Norwegian Cruise Line exec Harry Sommer told that unless you’ve got the proper infrastructure, then don’t invite people to the party.
Collins, who left the Navy in 2012 after serving as a fleet legal officer, is set to lead a new cruise industry reference group, with industry and government representations.
They’re set to bring possible solutions to the table in September, with the government deciding whether or not to act on these recommendations by the end of the year.
The Overseas Passenger Terminal, which recently had a $22 million makeover, is currently at capacity, with a number of newer cruise ships too big to fit under the bridge and dock at White Bay Terminal, which also scored a $57 million revamp in 2013.
The Navy only allows three cruise ships per season to stop at Garden Island, with this number dropped even lower with upcoming renovations.
Clearly, the matter is urgent, but despite pleas has so far gone nowhere with the government.NSW has already copped a $65 million hit for the next two years, with operators like Carnival and Royal Caribbean taking their ships to other Aussie states or Asian ports, per Telegraph.
Collins said the most cost-effective answer will be negotiating a way to allow cruise ships greater access to Garden Island Defence base.
The cruise industry and state government have lobbied hard for greater access to Garden Island for many years, including under the leadership of former premier Mike Baird, who said in 2014 it would be “beneficial” for the industry amid soaring demand from holidaymakers.