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Australian Times


Navy Should Be Forced to Share Garden Island: Alan Hawke

March 14, 2012 by Ben Collins in Politics

The Australian Navy will have to share its Garden Island port with cruise ships under radical plans being considered by the Australian Government.

In an industry that is expected to be worth $1.1 billion to NSW by 2020, the State is being hampered by the lack of available docking ports east of the harbour bridge. It is estimated by 2015, close to half of all visiting cruise ships will be too large to sail under the Harbour Bridge, making the availability of deep water ports limited.

Currently, the Navy has an agreement with Carnival Australia granting access to its largest ships, but the top brass is said to be dissatisfied with the arrangement was is not planning on extending this agreement past 2013. The current arrangement sees passengers bypassing the Garden Island Dockyards and travelling on tenders to the Overseas Passenger Terminal. A more permanent facility would allow passengers to be processed and cleared on site.

Ann Sherry, Carnival Australia CEO claimed

Sydney needs a three-cruise berth solution with one berth west of the Harbour Bridge and two in the eastern Harbour to accommodate an increasing number of cruise ships too big to sail under the bridge.

It appears she has her gaze firmly set on Garden Island which was established in 1856.

Allan Hawke, who is conducting a review into the arrangements, will recommend the Government direct that during the peak October to March cruise season the Navy share the wharf.

However, the Navy is expecting to take delivery of two 230 metre long ships in 2014, and being forced to share their only Sydney super port could severely restrict their operational planning. A possible solution would be to base these Helicopter Landing Ships out of Brisbane, which would make operation sense anyway.

The problem is yet another example of NSW’s struggle to maintain suitable infrastructure to support economic demand.

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