Rethink Before Rebook – Rethink Cruise Tourism

Community members from Sydney and the Gold Coast, affiliated with the Global Cruise Activist Network (GCAN), have launched in Australia the GCAN Rethink Cruise Tourism campaign.

The campaign aims to compel cruise customers, investors and governments to imagine a socially, economically and environmentally responsible cruise industry, before allowing the cruise ship sector to restart following its Covid-19 hiatus.

The Rethink campaign is summarised in this brief YouTube video and the campaign has published 10 Reasons To Rethink Cruise Tourism (during Covid)

Maria Poulos Conklin of Save the Bay Coalition, which has been fighting plans to build a cruise terminal in Yarra Bay said:

“The cruise industry wants to use Australia’s relative success in stemming community transmission of Coronavirus to end the current ban on cruising, which was to expire on 17 December.* It has been working with the Australian Government for an early and controlled resumption of cruising. But we are uniting with port communities around the world to say it’s time to rethink cruise tourism,”

“Before rebooking a cruise, before investing money, before taking a cruise, before restarting cruise ships, please rethink your plan. Let’s not risk negating all the hard work and sacrifices we made with the shutdowns this year.”

“Cruise ships are proven to spread Covid-19. As we saw with the Ruby Princess and other ships this year that led to hundreds of cases and deaths, they are responsible for spreading this disease and remain a threat to public health and safety. It is not safe to resume cruising during a global pandemic and any future infectious disease outbreaks.”

“From burning huge volumes of highly polluting fuel, dumping waste in the ocean, underpaying their lowest-paid workers, and avoiding labor, tax, environmental and criminal laws, cruise companies have failed to protect the health and safety of passengers, workers and the environment. The latest example of this – the industry’s mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic – shows that governments must reign in and regulate this rogue industry in order to protect people, communities and the environments they depend on.”

“We call on cruise companies to delay their return to operations until they publish detailed plans with explicit commitments, benchmarks, and timelines that commit companies to implementing specific levels of performance and compliance over time.”

* Note: On December 8, the Federal Government announced the ban on cruise ships entering Australian waters will be extended for another three months [to March 18, 2021].

Save the Bay Coalition joins GCAN

Save the Bay Coalition has joined the Global Cruise Activist Network (GCAN), which is calling for cruise industry changes and demanding the cruise industry does not return to business as usual once cruise ships start sailing again in large numbers after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Global Cruise Activist Network (GCAN) logo

GCAN gives Save the Bay Coalition a voice and allies internationally. Network members share ideas and support fellow campaigners battling cruise terminal developments that threaten the social fabric of communities and the environment. Through GCAN, we are able to:

  • better understand how ports and cruise terminals are being financed
  • share what works for community-led air and water pollution monitoring
  • learn from locations dealing with referendums and legal actions
  • track where and when cruise ships are returning.

Despite the Berejiklian Government’s announced delay in its planning for a third Sydney cruise ship terminal, and despite the cruise industry remaining in crisis mode due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that the work goes on in the background to develop the proposal for a mega-cruise ship terminal at Yarra Bay.

To see an inspiring gallery of actions being taken by cruise industry affected communities around the globe, visit GCAN’s new web site here.

More of the same from NSW Government & Port Authority

The Port Authority of NSW has responded to Maria Poulos’ recent letter:

What do we learn from this letter?

  • The NSW Government remains committed to evaluating a cruise terminal in Yarra Bay, and therefore to enabling the cruise industry’s expansion plans for Sydney.
  • The Cruise Capacity Detailed Business Case (DBC) has been placed on hold for a period of up to 18 months. Note that this means work on the business case could be reactivated at any time – and if the cruise industry has its way, development of the business case could be under way again by the last quarter of this year.
  • The Strategic Business Case will not be publicly released, with the standard excuse of Cabinet in Confidence status being offered to keep it secret from the communities deeply affected by its conclusions and recommendations.
  • Despite the Port Authority’s claim to be committed to industry and community engagement, they will not make public any data or conclusions from their consultation to date. Their excuse is that “with all industry and community engagement suspended, unfortunately we are not able to complete the Early Consultation Outcomes report”.

In spite of every public health disaster that has occurred in the cruise industry in 2020 – with devastating consequences for Australia and Australians – it is just more of the same from the NSW Government and their cruise industry enabling agency, the Port Authority of NSW.

Not satisfied with Brad Milner’s response? If you have the time, please express your concern and dissatisfaction to Brad Milner ( and Ingrid Emery (, or to Chief Executive Officer Philip Holliday (

If you prefer post to email, the address is:

PO Box 25
Millers Point
New South Wales 2000

Save the Bay responds to Cruise Capacity update

Port Authority of New South Wales Cruise Capacity project team have issued a project update:

Maria Poulos, Convenor of Save the Bay Coalition, has responded with a letter, emailed to Brad Milner (Executive General Manager Commercial, Technical and Legal) and Ingrid Emery (General Manager, Infrastructure and manager of the Yarra Bay / Molineaux Point project):

Dear Cruise Capacity Team

The decision to place the detailed business case on hold is a welcome development. However, we all know that this project should just be cancelled.

The NSW economy will not be able to support projects that bring little return on investment to the Australian taxpayer. Our home-grown tourism industry must be supported in the Post-COVID-19 recovery phase, not foreign-owned/registered industries that don’t pay taxes and do not hire locally.

The Cruise Capacity project was never going to deliver the economic and social benefits or return on investment the cruise industry would have us believe, even with the questionable figures provided in the Cruise Development plan. In addition to the dubious economic benefits of this project, it was always going to be a public safety hazard located next to high hazard chemical and gas bulk storage facilities. I won’t repeat the environmental and cultural concerns as the Government was obviously unmoved by these legitimate and well-founded objections raised by the community. It NEVER made sense to contemplate destroying a beautiful part of Sydney to cater to a foreign industry that doesn’t even pay taxes here.

We urge you to consider a capping of cruise ships into Sydney and invest in shore to ship power, improved infrastructure at existing facilities and strengthening of environmental regulations and biosecurity at our ports. A clean, sustainable and regulated cruise industry is far preferable to turning Sydney into a polluted, congested and mass transit cruise hub catering to the low-end of the cruise market. What a vision for Sydney!

We would be grateful for the following information:

1/ Will you be releasing the community outcomes report? We committed considerable time and energy to your consultation process and would like to see the results of that.

2/ Will you be continuing work on the detailed business case (notwithstanding the announcement) given that contracts/tenders for different aspects of the final business case would have already been awarded? Or will you be suspending all work at this time?

3/ Are you able to release the preliminary strategic business case at this time?

Finally, the communities of Botany Bay and beyond request that you cancel the project and focus on building the capacity of existing ports to make them state-of-the art ports that commit to meeting global environmental and sustainability standards.

Kind regards


Now is the time to reinforce the message the Port Authority, its political masters and the cruise industry and tourism lobby groups are hearing loud and clear – after COVID-19, the cruise industry needs to strive for sustainability and social acceptance rather than continue to pressure communities to accommodate its insatiable growth ambitions.

So if you have the time, please write your own heartfelt letter to:

Brad ( and Ingrid ( or to Chief Executive Officer Philip Holliday (

If you prefer post to email, the address is:

PO Box 25
Millers Point
New South Wales 2000

Protest flotilla event postponed indefinitely

UPDATE: The protest flotilla event at Yarra Bay is postponed until the government’s ban on public gatherings is lifted.

The health and safety of our supporters is very important to us. Today’s weather had forced a postponement – but with the announcement of further restrictions on public gatherings, the COVID-19 emergency has ruled out any date in the near future and we had to make the difficult decision to postpone the flotilla event indefinitely.

We will monitor the Government’s health advisories and provide advice about a new date for the event in coming weeks.

Thank you everyone for your email and comments of support.

Save the Bay Coalition thanks all those who worked so cooperatively to make a safe, fun and positive protest event possible. We are committed to holding the flotilla event at the right time and we promise it will be HUGE. Stay healthy everyone.

Further postponement of protest flotilla event

The health and safety of our supporters is our top priority and we are looking closely at the implications of the Government’s health advisory.

We will provide advice about the flotilla event on Tuesday evening – after we have met with key sponsors. We are looking at rescheduling to a date to be advised – after Government has lifted restrictions on mass gatherings.

Event information for protest participants – Sunday 22 March

Event information

Can you join us on Sunday 22 March at Yarra Bay from 11:30 to 2:00 for a water and beach protest against the New South Wales Government’s proposed mega cruise ship terminal in Yarra Bay?

If you can make it, please read the following event information:

This information is the result of a lot of hard work, detailed planning and risk assessment. It is made available to enable you to have a safe and enjoyable day alongside the many other protesters we are expecting at Yarra Bay on Sunday 22 March. Please read it, and take it with you on the day.

Event schedule

  • 0930 Marker buoys are laid to define the best view for the highlight photos. Radio coverage on VHF 77 commences.
  • 1000 Flotilla vessels start moving into position – please follow the directions of Yarra Bay Sailing Club “Flotilla Official” boats
  • 1130 Beach goers start assembling on the beach
  • 1200-1215 Singer Chris Carpenter performs a medley of “Save Yarra Bay” protest songs outside the sailing club’s lower bar
  • 1215-1300 Welcome to Country. Brief speeches from Randwick City Mayor Danny Said, Bayside Mayor Joe Awada, our local members of parliament Matt Thistlethwaite and Michael Daley and Save Yarra Bay Coalition representative Maria Poulos.
  • 1300-1310 Flotilla highlight – all vessels and beach side participants sound horns, wave banners and make as much noise as possible to create the perfect photo opportunity!
  • 1310-1330 Chris Carpenter performs a medley of “Save Yarra Bay” protest songs outside the club’s lower bar
  • 1330 Flotilla protest concludes – thanks for showing the New South Wales Government that we care what happens to Yarra Bay!
  • 1330 Flotilla disperses. To reduce the risk of collisions, please follow the directions of YBSC Flotilla Official boats. Thanks to Marine Rescue NSW, Yarra Bay Sailing Club, NSW Maritime and Water Police for keeping us safe!

Community and taxpayers may learn about mega cruise ship terminal plans

On 27 February 2020, in the New South Wales Parliament Upper House, Greens MP David Shoebridge moved an order for papers concerning the business cases on the proposal for a cruise ship terminal at Yarra Bay or Molineux Point. The motion was put and passed.

Watch and listen to David Shoebridge’s speech to his motion on 27 February 2020 (3:17)

Message from Randwick City Councillor Dylan Parker concerning David Shoebridge’s motion:

Following the November Community forum there was collective agreement to call for the strategic business case of the Yarra Bay Cruise Terminal.

Last night David Shoebridge’s NSW Upper House motion to call for documents was successful with Greens, Labor, and the cross bench combining to carry the motion requiring Government to produce papers. It appears the Libs/Nats rolled over seeing that the numbers just weren’t there to oppose the order.

Such a motion is the strongest parliamentary procedure available in New South Wales to force the production of the documents. I don’t hold my breath as to the level of detail that will be produced – we’ll see, as there have been mixed results in past. Nevertheless this is a positive development in securing information for the public.

The relevant extract from the Legislative Council Hansard follows:


Production of Documents: Order


I move:

That private members’ business item No. 384 outside the order of precedence be considered in a short form format.

Motion agreed to.


I move:

That, under Standing Order 52, there be laid upon the table of the House within 14 days of the date of passing of this resolution the following documents in the possession, custody or control of the Port Authority of New South Wales, the Department of Transport, the Minister for Transport and Roads, the Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, Infrastructure NSW or the Department of Premier and Cabinet:

(a) the final strategic business case and any draft strategic business cases on the proposal for a cruise ship terminal at Yarra Bay or Molineux Point;

(b) any correspondence between the Port Authority of New South Wales and the Minister for Transport and Roads relating to the proposal for a cruise ship terminal at Yarra Bay or Molineux Point;

(c) any correspondence between the Port Authority of New South Wales and the Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney relating to the proposal for a cruise ship terminal at Yarra Bay or Molineux Point; and

(d) any legal or other advice regarding the scope or validity of this order of the House created as a result of this order of the House.

The community is united in wanting to know why on earth the Government is going to foist upon it such a dreadfully unwanted proposal. I attended a public meeting held at the sailing club at Yarra Bay. Also present were a number of members of this Chamber, representatives from the Labor Party and the Hon. Mark Banasiak from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party. Also in attendance were local councillors from Randwick, from both The Greens and Labor. But fundamentally it was overflowing with thousands of local residents. It was an extraordinary show of unity from the community that they do not want this monster cruise ship terminal at Yarra Bay.

It is a ridiculous spot to put a terminal. There are no transport links with the rest of the city. A terminal would destroy literally the last untouched part of the northern side of Botany Bay. There is a precious marine ecosystem off the bay and around the point, leading around to La Perouse. At the public meeting there was a compelling representation from a marine biologist about the soft coral that is on the eastern side of where this proposed cruise ship terminal will be built. The project will involve major dredging, major excavation, a very large seawall and major changes to the marine environment. There is coral there that is more than 300 years old.

The ACTING PRESIDENT (The Hon. Trevor Khan):

I invite the member to deal with the issue of the Standing Order 52 request. I have dived there, so I am somewhat sympathetic to the member’s observations, but that has nothing to do with the motion.


The community ask: Has any of this been taken into account in the business case? They feel almost certain it cannot have been. They want to know if any other site was suggested as an alternative. The obvious site is Garden Island, right in the centre of the city, connected to tourism facilities. Did anybody from the State Government investigate Garden Island? Why are they being singled out by the Government? Why will the Government not provide the final strategic business case or any draft strategic business case that was pulled together for the cruise ship terminal at Yarra Bay?

Moving this Standing Order 52 motion is making good on a commitment that I gave when I attended that meeting. The community will hold us all to account on what we do on this. As part of The Greens commitment to accountability to that community, I not only move this Standing Order 52 motion but also urge members from all parties to support it. That community deserves answers and transparency. This business case and any other draft business case and the correspondence between the port authority and the Minister for Transport and Roads in relation to this cruise ship terminal needs to be on the public record.


I speak on behalf of the Opposition in debate on this motion. The Opposition supports this call for papers. I congratulate the community campaign, which has been very significant, and my colleague the member for Maroubra, who has been leading the charge on this issue. It really is a community movement on the ground and I welcome the growing political support behind it. Randwick and Bayside councils have come on board and we have already heard the support from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party and Mr David Shoebridge from The Greens. It is a growing community campaign.

The approach of the Government has been one of secrecy and concealment while a clear and extensive discussion has been going on in the background. At the budget estimates hearings, during some sustained questioning by my colleague the Hon. Daniel Mookhey, it became clear just how extensive those discussions have been between the Government, the port authority and some of the cruise companies. The public knows nothing about that. It does not know what is going on behind the scenes and that is what this motion is about. What is at stake here? It is a very precious part of Sydney. Yarra Bay and the small beaches that attend it are the last little bits of sand left to the community on the northern side of Botany Bay. They have already lost six kilometres of beach on that side of the harbour. We are interested in the cost. I invite the Government to respond to this motion. The community view is the cost could be more than $500 million. I am interested to hear the Government’s view.


That doesn’t include the infrastructure links.


That does not include the infrastructure links, nor does it include the inevitable cost blowout. Bids start at $500 million, but I welcome the Government to top that. I am confident they will. We say the Government is at fault but it is not the only entity that should be careful. Royal Caribbean, one of the key companies at the centre of this potential deal, risks being regarded by the community—I say this having talked to my colleague—as a bad corporate citizen. That is the emerging community view. I say that it should be careful. We support this motion and shedding light on this deal.


The Government will not be opposing the motion.

The ACTING PRESIDENT (The Hon. Trevor Khan):

The question is that the motion be agreed to.

Motion agreed to.


Convenor Save Yarra Bay Coalition Maria Poulos

“David, we thank you for following up on your commitment to call for documents. We thank all parties who supported this motion. It is a significant outcome and shows there is truly cross-party support of the campaign and agreement that the community has been treated with contempt by being kept in the dark by the Government.”

Randwick City Councillor Carlos Da Rocha

Fingers crossed by the reports being released that we obtain the evidence we need to show we have been kept in the dark over this entire crazy idea to destroy the bay.

Yarra Bay water and beach protest – 15 March

Please join us on Sunday 15 March from 11:30 at Yarra Bay for an on-water and beach protest against the NSW Government’s proposal to build a mega cruise ship terminal at a highly dangerous and environmentally destructive location in Yarra Bay.

The Final Business Case for the proposal will be completed mid-year and a decision made by Cabinet on spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to ruin one of Sydney’s precious bays and beaches for the benefit of the Royal Caribbean shipping company.

We only have a few months to make our voices heard and demonstrate community outrage! It is now or never to Fight for the Bay! Now or never to stop the next instalment of madness from the people who brought you the Light Rail Fiasco!

On 15 March, we aim to fill Yarra Bay with a protest flotilla that includes anything that is safe to float! Especially the sailing dinghies, catamarans, kayaks, canoes, inflatables, surfboards, paddleboards, speedboats, surfboats, launches, dinghies, tinnies, dragon boats, swan boats and outriggers that find Yarra Bay to be a splendid venue for all sorts of sporting and recreational activities.

If you aren’t one to venture onto the water, bring signs and banners, towels, tents and umbrellas to contribute to an on-beach installation and other events.

The day will culminate in a photo/drone capture at 1 PM when all the pleasure craft are on the water and in place – and a few words from our local leaders!

If you are bringing anything that floats (decorated with protest banners if possible), it will help us to plan if you can let our flotilla manager Chris know – just send an email to with the Subject line “15 March protest” and include:

  • vessel name
  • radio fitted UHF/VHF
  • radio call sign
  • vessel owner’s name
  • mobile contact no.
  • club
  • launching from
  • ETA Yarra Bay
Three views of Yarra Bay in January; images courtesy Nuria Utiya, Chris Kitamura, Camille Gee