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:

YARRA BAY CRUISE SHIP TERMINAL

Production of Documents: Order

Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE:

I move:

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

Motion agreed to.

Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE:

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.

Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE:

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.

The Hon. JOHN GRAHAM:

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.

Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE:

That doesn’t include the infrastructure links.

The Hon. JOHN GRAHAM:

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 Hon. NATASHA MACLAREN-JONES:

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.

Comments

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.


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