Defence White paper ignores plans for Sydneys Garden Island

first_imgPeak national industry body, Tourism & Transport Forum has led the industry reaction to the future growth of Sydney’s tourism sector being curtailed by the recently released Defence White Paper, which has sidestepped the critical issue of long-term cruise ship access to Garden IslandTTF Acting Chief Executive Trent Zimmerman said the White Paper all but ignores the issue, saying the Defence White Paper makes a passing mention of cruise ship access to Garden Island and in doing so passes the buck.He said, “It defers the decision to the Hawke Review report released 15 months ago and to an ongoing review process which appears to have made little progress, adding, “With the Navy reluctant to offer any certainty beyond next season, the tourism industry is calling for leadership from Canberra and a fresh commitment on access to Garden Island for the 2014/15 cruise season and beyond.Mr Zimmerman said, “Cruise ship schedules are locked in years in advance, so that certainty is vital to allow cruise ship and tourism operators to plan their activities.””Supporting the long term growth of the cruise sector should be a priority for the federal government and addressing future capacity constraints is critical to that objective.”A broader decision on additional cruise ship facilities east of the Sydney Harbour Bridge is needed sooner rather than later, because a third of all cruise ships visiting Sydney will be unable to fit under the bridge within three years and that will rise to 56 percent by 2020.”Given its proximity to the city, Garden Island is the obvious choice.”With Carnival Australia operating or representing most of the cruise ships sailing to or from Sydney, CEO Ann Sherry said the paper comes just days after the release of industry statistics that again confirmed cruising as the standout success of Australian tourism in 2012 with an increase of 11 per cent in passenger numbers, the eighth consecutive year of double digit industry growth.Ms Sherry said that she is concerned the Defence White Paper released by the Federal Government leaves unresolved the vital question of long-term access to Garden Island to support the Australian cruise industry’s continued growth and increasing economic contribution, adding that the need for certainty in relation to access to Garden Island beyond the 2013-2014 summer cruise season was becoming increasingly urgent to allow itinerary planning that would ensure Sydney remains the hub of cruise industry operations in Australia.The New South Wales Government recently provided cruise vessel berthing facilities west of the Harbour Bridge at White Bay, to replace those at Darling Harbour, labelled by the industry as White Elephant Bay, with industry analysts saying both the White Bay and Garden Island scenarios make a mockery of Sydney, New South Wales’ and Australia’s commitment to the cruise sector.Source = eTB Cruise Expertlast_img read more