Editorial July 12 2017

Put quite simply, you cannot fit an elephant into a sock.

As much as the NSW Government would appear determined that it can, it simply can not.

The NSW Government appears determined to continue to ram cruise ships into Sydney Harbour at all cost despite the Harbour being at bursting point.

Add to that the future and growth of the cruise industry which is seeing a more to larger vessels, most of which do not fit under the Harbour Bridge.

In the latest move, the NSW Government is pushing to examine the development of Garden Island as an option, appointing former NSW Liberal leader and senior naval reserve officer Peter Collins to a new steering committee to provide answers.

The new NSW government cruise industry reference group has been charged with finding solutions to the cruise industry issues.

The group has been given three months to come up with a solution.

Three months doesn’t seem like a long time unless you are a government with an already clear vision of what you want to achieve.

Particularly when one of the solutions has already been staring the NSW Government in the face since the first cruise ship dockeed at Wollongong Harbour in October last year.

Garden Island, as a working naval base, has not proven to be a viable option for the cruise industry in the past.

There’s not a lot to indicate what would be different now.

Destination Wollongong general manager Mark Sleigh has called on the NSW Government to make sure Port Kembla is considered as an alternative and potential problem solver both now and into the future.

“The role that Wollongong potentially plays is that it’s sitting in the background,” Mr Sleigh told the Illawarra Mercury.

“It’s facilitating in the short term and then people kind of have a look at it medium to long-term and go … ‘maybe that’s a sensible solution’.”

Port Kembla has another three cruise ships scheduled for next year after a successful introductory season and has the ability to do much, much more.

Let’s hope, from the NSW Government’s perspective, the ship has not sailed and their approach is blinkered in regards to what options might be available.

The city of Wollongong and Port Kembla stands ready, willing and more than able to provide a perfect solution.


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