Garden Island cruise hopes in tatters

Garden Island cruise hopes in tatters
By admin

Australia’s cruise industry has been delivered a major blow after an independent review found the Navy and cruise ships would be unable to share Garden Island.

A report said the requirements of the navy are “essentially incompatible” with long term cruise ship access.
Minister for defence Stephen Smith today released the findings of the Government-commissioned review that was conducted by former defence secretary Sir Allan Hawke.
Despite optimism in the cruise sector that the review would offer a positive outcome, Hawke found guaranteed shared access to existing berths would impact negatively on the Navy.
A statement said: “The review found that current and future Navy capability requirements of Garden Island are essentially incompatible with cruise ship access over the longer term, except on the existing basis, where a limited number of requests for berth bookings is considered by Navy based on extended notice and limited visits per year.”
The review suggested a short to medium term solution as the addition of a “dolphin” berth at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, with a maximum one-day stay. Vessels requiring a two-day stay could be transferred to the existing Athol Bay Buoy.
In the longer term, it offered five options for enhanced cruise ship access at Garden Island, all of which would require “significant investment”.
These included the creation of new facilities for the Navy or the dispersal of cruise facilities between OPT, Athol Bay and Port Botany.
The review will now be considered by government ahead of its final report of the Australian Defence Force Posture Review, due at the end of this month.
“Defence’s long-term national security task should not be surrendered to the seasonal commercial requirements of the cruise ship industry,” the review recommended.

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