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What is a Detailed Business Case?
Detailed Business Cases are a tool used by the NSW Government to guide evidence-based investment decisions. The Cruise Capacity Detailed Business Case will recommend preferred site options within the study area, provide high-level terminal concepts and commercial models for procuring, funding and operating a potential terminal. The business case will be informed by inputs including technical studies.
If the project is endorsed by the NSW Government to progress to the next stage, further consultation would take place as part of the statutory planning pathway and project approvals – including the public exhibition of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
How can stakeholders and community members be involved?
As this project is currently on hold, consultation with the community and local stakeholders would continue with the recommencement of this project.
Community information sessions were held in late 2019 to allow the community to meet the project team, ask questions and provide feedback for a potential preferred site option.
Through consultation we want to understand:
· how the community uses and what they value about the local area, to help minimise potential construction and operational impacts
· ideas that local community and stakeholders may have for how the area might be used in the future, if a potential terminal progressed.
During this time, we also engaged with cruise operators and the broader industry, as the NSW Government assesses the viability of the options, potential partnering and financing arrangements and undertakes further detailed technical studies.
Would operation and construction of a cruise terminal interrupt the flight paths of planes to Sydney Airport?
Doesn’t the surrounding land use mean the location of the potential terminal is dangerous? What if a ship breaks away from the terminal?
Development of a cruise terminal would not be approved in an area that creates an unacceptable risk to safety. Wave modelling will inform terminal design to ensure a terminal could withstand storm events, maintain safety, and provide the required operational conditions for cruise ship and terminal operations.
Port Authority is responsible for security and operational safety in Port Botany, and works 24/7 to ensure the safety of ships, the security of our working ports and the protection of our marine environment.
Would dredging be required for a potential cruise terminal?
Terminal design would aim to minimise dredging. The extent of dredging required is not yet known but being investigated as part of the technical studies that inform the Detailed Business Case.
Why aren’t you considering Wollongong or Newcastle as sites for a potential third cruise terminal?
The Cruise Development Plan, released by the NSW Government in 2018, sets out action the NSW Government is taking to address capacity constraints in Sydney Harbour and develop regional cruise destinations along the NSW coast. The Plan can be found here: [https://www.industry.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/169013/NSW-Cruise-Development-Plan.pdf]
Sydney is the preferred gateway for cruise ships visiting Australia. While regional port calls are increasingly becoming an addition to international cruise itineraries, these calls to locations such as Port Kembla (in Wollongong) and Newcastle are a complement to and not a substitute for a Sydney port call for most vessels.
In order for regional visitation to grow, Sydney must maintain its position as the leading cruise tourism destination in Australasia. This is why the Cruise Capacity project is assessing Sydney-based options to address capacity constraints.
Will there be any property acquisition?
While we are only in the very early stages of this project, it is highly unlikely the acquisition of residential properties would be required for the Yarra Bay and Molineux Point site options.
How are community and stakeholders being consulted in early project planning?
Through consultation, we have sought to understand how locals and visitors use the area and what they value about it, to help shape project planning. Engaging at this early phase means community input is being used to help guide decision-making about a potential third terminal.
We are using this information to guide project planning and the technical studies, and address areas of importance to the local community and stakeholders. This includes beach amenity, water-based recreational impacts, Aboriginal cultural heritage and connection to the area, traffic and transport capacity and environmental impacts.
Will technical studies from the business case be released?
Technical studies will be developed as part of the Detailed Business Case project to inform decision-making and project planning. The studies will be highly technical and are a tool to assist in project planning and options assessment. They will inform potential site locations from the study area and high-level design concepts.
At the time of the second round of community information sessions by mid-2020, Port Authority will provide an Early Consultation Outcomes Report. This will explain how community feedback has been used to inform the project. Port Authority will also outline the project, including refined site options from the study area and early design concepts.The Early Consultation Outcomes Report will be informed in part by the technical studies.
Why do we need a third cruise terminal?
Cruise is the fastest growing tourism sector in Australia, generating $2.75 billion for the NSW economy, supporting around 10,000 jobs and creating about $800 million in wages.
During the 2019/20 cruise season, 350 cruise ships are forecast to visit ports across NSW, including 317 ship visits to Sydney’s two terminals, the Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT) at Circular Quay and White Bay Cruise Terminal in Balmain. This means 1.6 million passengers are visiting NSW this season alone.
During the peak season, which runs from December to March each year, the OPT operates near capacity. This means Sydney is missing cruise ship calls, as the cruise lines seeking to deploy larger ships (which are too tall to pass under the Harbour Bridge) cannot obtain berthing slots at the terminal over the summer months.
The number of cruise ships berthing in Sydney Harbour has increased in recent years, as has the trend toward larger ship sizes. The NSW Government has worked to accommodate this demand using existing infrastructure over recent years.
Without investment in additional infrastructure, Sydney will not be able to service this demand and address capacity constraints. The Detailed Business Case is the next step in helping to ensure Sydney can respond to growing demand for cruising.
The importance of this project is recognised at both a state and national level. The NSW Government’s 2018 State Infrastructure Strategy recommended the NSW Government prepare a Strategic Business Case to provide additional cruise berthing capacity in Sydney.
Addressing cruise capacity was also recognised as a priority initiative on Infrastructure Australia’s 2019 Infrastructure Priority List and cruise capacity constraints and flow-on impacts on domestic tourism were listed as key challenges in Infrastructure Australia’s recently released 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit.
How were Yarra Bay and Molineux Point selected as site options?
The NSW Government has worked alongside the cruise and tourism industry for several years to explore options for addressing capacity constraints in Sydney.
In 2014, the NSW Government committed to progressing the Cruise Development Plan and targets to boost the economic benefits of tourism in NSW.
In 2017 the Cruise Industry Reference Group investigated potential cruise terminal locations in and around Sydney, as well as regional NSW ports, to relieve cruise capacity constraints emerging in Sydney. A preliminary assessment of 14 sites was refined to seven potential sites: Garden Island West, North East Garden Island, Port Botany, Molineux Point, Yarra Bay, Rose Bay and Athol Bay. The Cruise Industry Reference Group recommended to the NSW Government that four sites be further evaluated for a new cruise terminal east of the Sydney Harbour Bridge: Garden Island West, North East Garden Island, Molineux Point and Yarra Bay.
In mid-2018, the Commonwealth Government advised the NSW Government that shared use of Garden Island was not feasible due to significant challenges in managing berth space and infrastructure alongside expanding Navy operations.
Following this, the NSW Government released the NSW Cruise Development Plan in July 2018, in which the Government committed to undertake a strategic business case for the remaining two shortlisted sites identified by the Reference Group: Molineux Point and Yarra Bay.
What would the environmental impacts be?
In developing the Detailed Business Case, a wide range of issues are being considered. Detailed environmental studies will be completed and will consider potential construction and operational impacts on the land and marine environment, operational noise and pollution, marine life, seagrass and fishing, as well as Aboriginal and European heritage.
If the project is approved to progress to delivery, a separate State Significant Infrastructure or State Significant Development application, including an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) would be prepared. The EIS is a planning approval document which would include further detailed technical and environmental studies of the preferred cruise terminal site. An EIS would be placed on public exhibition for further comment and consultation.
What studies have been done to prove the project is ‘technically feasible’?
As part of the Strategic Business Case, a number of preliminary technical studies were undertaken including marine modelling, maritime and landside engineering, traffic and transport analysis and an environmental and planning assessment. These studies indicate it is technically feasible to deliver cruise infrastructure at both the Yarra Bay and Molineux Point locations.
The Detailed Business Case will build on these studies and involve more comprehensive analyses and assessments. There will also be further consideration of Aboriginal and cultural heritage and airspace concerns and any other study areas.
In line with NSW Government standard practice, the studies from the Strategic Business Case and Detailed Business Case will not be publicly available. However, should the project be approved to progress to the next stage, a separate Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) would be prepared. The EIS is a planning document that would include further detailed technical and environmental studies of the preferred cruise terminal site.
An EIS would be placed on public exhibition for public comment and consultation.
Would recreational users be able to continue to use the waterways in Yarra Bay and surrounding areas? Would areas near the cruise terminal be off limits?
We know many people enjoy recreational activities in Botany Bay and we understand users such as sailing, diving and fishing groups want to be able to continue to use the area. We are seeking feedback on recreational uses that people value in the area here as part of our consultation.
We do not anticipate significant impacts on recreational use of Yarra Bay and the surrounding Botany Bay area. On days when there are cruise ships in port, there may be restrictions around recreational activities, including boating, in terms of proximity to any cruise terminal. This is similar to the restrictions currently in place for the boat ramp at Port Botany. However, we would work to minimise the operational impact of the terminal on sailing, diving and fishing activities as much as possible.
Will there be an impact on Aboriginal or European heritage?
Comprehensive heritage studies will be undertaken as part of the Detailed Business Case and we will continue to work with the The Environment, Energy and Science (EES) Group, part of the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to understand any potential impacts.
We are aware of the importance of the area to Aboriginal communities. Consultation with the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council and other Aboriginal stakeholders will be undertaken as part of the Detailed Business Case.
We will complete Aboriginal heritage studies that build on the heritage work completed as part of the Strategic Business Case in 2018. Further investigation of Aboriginal sites identified in or near potential cruise terminal sites would occur as part of the Detailed Business Case.
Should the project be approved to proceed, further environmental and heritage studies would be undertaken as part of the Environmental Impact Statement.
How much is this project going to cost? How would the project be funded?
Part of the Detailed Business Case process is to examine the cost associated with potential cruise terminal site options and to consider funding options for the project. Project costings will not be released due to the confidential nature of the commercial arrangements involved. If the project progresses, it may be funded from multiple sources, which could include funding from Government and/or private investors.
What would be the impact on local traffic?
We understand Port Botany is a busy area and that managing traffic and transport impacts of a potential cruise terminal is critical.
Traffic flows associated with a cruise terminal will be modelled by technical specialists in close consultation with other relevant government authorities including Transport for NSW and local councils. The assessment will consider movements generated by passenger arrivals and departures, potential public transport solutions and the use of vehicles to service and supply provisions to vessels.
Other nearby projects such as Sydney Gateway and the Port Botany Freight Line Duplication are underway to relieve congestion on the road networks and information from these projects is also being incorporated into planning for a potential third cruise terminal.