Thursday, 4 April 2019
Kingsford Smith Electorate: Cruise Ship Terminal
In the wake of the New South Wales election, it's full steam ahead with the Liberals' disastrous proposal for a massive cruise ship terminal in Yarra Bay. In the campaign for the state seat of Maroubra, where Yarra Bay is situated, all of the local the candidates opposed this crazy proposal. Even the unsuccessful Liberal candidate vowed to fight Gladys Berejiklian to stop the looming catastrophe in our community.
What we do know is that the current Prime Minister, the member for Cook, has gone missing in action on the question of a cruise ship terminal at Yarra Bay, despite the fact that his electorate is within sight of the proposed development of the terminal. We also know that it was the then Liberal Prime Minister, the former member for Wentworth, who made a captain's call to rule out Garden Island as the preferred location in Sydney for this new cruise ship terminal.
Former New South Wales Liberal state leader Peter Collins was appointed as the head of the Cruise Industry Reference Group. His job was to identify possible solutions to the current crush of cruise ships coming into Sydney Harbour. The preferred option for an additional cruise ship terminal was Garden Island West, with option 2 being North-East Garden Island. Further down the list of recommendations by the reference group, it clearly stated that options 3 and 4 were Molineaux Point/Botany Bay, and Yarra Bay/Botany Bay respectively. They called for consultation with Indigenous local community representatives in accordance with environmental standards. This, of course, hasn't happened, and the community may pay the price.
Politics has trumped sensible policy. Once again the Bidjigalpeople, the traditional owners of that land, whose ancestors have inhabited those shores for tens of thousands of years and have called Yarra Bay their home, have not been consulted about this disastrous plan. They say that a cruise ship terminal in their backyard will destroy local traditional fishing areas and livelihoods. There would be massive environmental damage from this proposal. Once again, Botany Bay would have to be dredged, and it's a haven for the weedy sea dragon and the pygmy pipehorse, which are protected species in Australia. And of course recreation in the bay would be severely affected, particularly for the Yarra Bay Sailing Club, which conducts its sailing events in the bay.
The numbers don't add up. The independent review shows that accommodating a cruise ship terminal at Garden Island would only be $143 million, yet taxpayers would be asked to foot the bill for over half a billion dollars if it was located at Yarra Bay. This proposal simply does not make sense. I will oppose the cruise ship terminal at Yarra Bay because it is not in the best interests of the people in our community, and I call on the Prime Minister, the member for Cook, to do the same—to get on the phone to Gladys Berejiklian and rule out a cruise ship terminal for Yarra Bay.