The Navy’s Garden Island was the “best site” after Port Botany was sunk

Collins, a reserve naval captain, called then-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s 2017 decision to exclude Garden Island on national security grounds a “knee-jerk response.”

A defense spokesman said sharing the Garden Island defense site with cruise ships was inconsistent with operational requirements. “[It is a] “Strategic defense facility directly supporting the naval operations of the Royal Australian Navy and Australia’s broader maritime capabilities by providing essential maintenance and repair facilities,” the spokesman said.

Business Sydney chief executive Paul Nicolaou said a new cruise ship berth east of the Sydney Harbor Bridge was needed and Garden Island remained the obvious option.

The cruise industry is recovering from a slump during the pandemic.

The cruise industry is recovering from a slump during the pandemic. Credit: Steven Siewert

“Cruises are an important contributor to the city’s tourism economy, and the solution to its future growth aligns again with the sharing of Garden Island with the Navy,” he said.

Large cruise ships are often too big to go under the Sydney Harbor Bridge to the White Bay terminal in Rozelle, putting pressure on the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay.

About 50 international cruise ships are due to call at Sydney next summer, at levels close to pre-pandemic levels. Some of these ships will be based in Sydney and many will make multiple visits.


Asked if the Navy would one day allow cruise ships into Garden Island, Deputy Defense Secretary Matt Thistlethwaite, the Labor MP for Kingsford Smith, said the Commonwealth was ready to work with the state government on options.

“It’s up to us [the NSW government] to find out where they think a cruise ship terminal would be appropriate,” he said.

New South Wales Attorney General Michael Daley, whose Maroubra constituency includes Yarra Bay, said the area was “never a viable option” as a cruise terminal. “The only option that never worked was Yarra Bay. We promised to kill it – now it’s dead,” he said.

Hayes Dock in Port Botany, which handles container ships, has previously been touted as a potential “interim cruise terminal”.


However, Port Botany’s long-time lessee, NSW Ports, said the plans for Yarra Bay, now shelved, had the potential to impact the company’s operations and capacity for growth, and that a cruise terminal could be built at “any other location on or nearby.” of the harbour” could have had a similar effect”.

The Cruise Lines International Association, the industry’s leading body, said the lack of a viable additional cruise berth in Sydney was threatening the city’s reputation as a premier gateway for cruise lines, and expressed disappointment that the recent announcement was made “with no indication of an alternative solution.” “.

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Justin Scaccy

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