Carnival Australia, which operates or represents most of the cruise ships sailing to or from Sydney, is concerned the Defence White Paper released by the Federal Government today 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.
Carnival Australia 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 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.
“We welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to allow limited access to Garden Island for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 summer cruise seasons and experience shows that the arrangements have worked effectively,” Ms Sherry said.
“As a maritime organisation, Carnival Australia has always understood and shared the Navy’s commitment to the traditions and security requirements that apply at Garden Island and have demonstrated our respect for them.
“The need to resolve Sydney Harbour’s port infrastructure requirements has never been more important knowing that the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay and Garden Island are the only suitable berths east of the harbour bridge for the increasing number of larger ships.
“On this basis, we are seeking access to Garden Island for the overflow of cruise ships that cannot or are unable to berth at Circular Quay during peak summer cruise seasons.
“We remain committed to achieving a solution as soon as possible that addresses the interests of the Navy, cruise industry and wider tourism sector that benefits from the growth of cruising.”