A former politician and Navy reserve captain has suggested that Garden Island could be the answer to Sydney’s troubled infrastructure issues, for which there’s still no clear solution.
Peter Collins has, per Daily Telegraph, proposed 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 Travel Weekly that unless you’ve got the proper infrastructure, then don’t invite people to the party.
Per Daily Tele, 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.
Per the Daily Telegraph, Collins said the most cost-effective answer will be negotiating a way to allow cruise ships greater access to Garden Island Defence base.
But he has not ruled out building a major new cruise terminal east of the harbour bridge, despite the obvious lack of space.
“The reference group has the latitude to look at alternatives like that and all options are on the table,” he said, per the Telegraph.
Collins also told the publication that by ramping up the shared use of Garden Island, it wouldn’t be in any way a move to kick out the Navy, which plays its own “pivotal” role in Sydney’s economy.
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, per the Telegraph.