The naval fleet could be safer from a possible terrorist attack if it moved to Port Kembla from Garden Island, a recently released report claims.
On Tuesday a group of regional stakeholders released a report - The Jewel of the East Coast - floating the possibility of becoming the new home of Fleet Base East, which is now based at Garden Island.
The report, written by RDA Illawarra on behalf of the group, touches on the security of both locations, suggesting a terrorist attack similar to that on the USS Cole in 2000 was less likely in Port Kembla.
In 2000, two suicide bombers navigated a small boat filled with explosives alongside the USS Cole as it was refuelling in port at Yemen.
Seventeen crew were killed and 39 wounded.
The report states this incident has seen an increase in the level of security implemented by visiting US Navy warships to Garden Island.
"Noting the high density of watercraft traffic and ease of access to the Garden Island base, Port Kembla would be a much safer option, ie, more easily protected in terms of access control to the proposed new major fleet base and ship repair facility," the report stated.
The report also addresses criticism that the Port Kembla harbour entrance - at about 200 metres - could be vulnerable to "measures to disrupt or prevent access".
"Any such unlikely threat to Port Kembla outer harbour would also apply to other locations around Australia, including naval bases where 'choke points' not only exist, but also in some cases are worse than Port Kembla," the report states.
These locations include HMAS Stirling in Western Australia and the ports of Townsville, Newcastle and Brisbane, among others.
RDA Illawarra CEO Natalie Burroughs said that, ultimately, the government and defence would need to do its own security assessment.
But she added there was much less water traffic in Port Kembla and any small boat entering the harbour would immediately stand out.
"If you look at Sydney Harbour and the port at Sydney compared to Port Kembla, there are a lot more watercraft and recreational, commercial and defence activity in Sydney Harbour compared to our harbour at any point in time," Ms Burroughs said.
"You just have to look at New Year's Eve and the amount of watercraft that goes out there.
"We don't have that level of activity at Port Kembla and we can control access to the port for that reason."