On September 24, the NSW Government announced a plan to investigate constructing international cruise terminals in Yamba and Coffs Harbour.
The announcement, made in Coffs Harbour in a joint media release from Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey, Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance and Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser, was part of the government’s launch of the Future Transport 2056 strategy.
“This is a major step, with the need for a facility being recognised in the 10 to 20-year horizon, so early investigations can begin now,” Ms Pavey said in the media release.
“The Cruise Industry is booming and is set to get bigger in coming years.”
The Independent sought clarification from Ms Pavey’s office regarding what is planned, and asked why the ports were not discussed in the Future Transport 2056 strategy, apart from noting: “Improve public transport connections to arrival and departure points such as airports and cruise terminals” beneath the heading: Future directions to investigate.
“The NSW Tourism plan outlines a commitment to a Cruise Development Plan over the next 10 years to develop the state’s tourist economy into the future,” Ms Pavey’s office wrote in an emailed response.
“The plan identifies the North Coast as being the most visited regional destination in NSW and the cruise industry offers further opportunities to strengthen that.
“There is considerable interest across industry and community in using the North Coast of NSW as a place for ships to berth.
“In fact, operators are already beginning to look at destinations such as Yamba for smaller cruise vessels. “
On this, Ms Pavey’s office said: “In October 2018, the Cruise Ship Caledonian Sky plans to stop off at Yamba as part of the Australian Coastal Odyssey.”
Questions about the size of the ships and where they might dock went unanswered, however, the Caledonian Sky can carry up to 114 passengers, has a draft of 4.2 metres (less than the maximum 5 metres that can navigate the river), and is 90 metres long and 17 metres wide, according to www.fleetmon.com.
As far as what infrastructure would be constructed to receive international cruise ships, Ms Pavey’s office cited the Regional Services and Infrastructure Plan, which only cites terminals at Coffs Harbour and Yamba in the ‘North Coast – Infrastructure’ list.
“[The government] will investigate a Coffs Harbour/Yamba cruise terminal, infrastructure development and better connections to cruise terminals,” Ms Pavey’s office wrote.
“This would position Coffs Harbour/Yamba as an international cruise destination, supporting the economy of the North Coast.
“This long-term vision is in its infancy, and engineering, cultural and environmental factors will need to be considered.
“The Future Transport team will have their mobile van in Grafton for the public to visit and leave feedback on November 27, and in Coffs Harbour on November 29.”
Future Transport 2056 is currently open for public feedback until December 3, 2017.
To provide feedback on the draft strategy, go to future.transport.nsw.gov.au.