(5:20 p.m. AEST) — South-east Queensland Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd (PBPL) has just confirmed it has received Stage 1 approval from the Queensland Government to build a $100 million cruise facility at Luggage Point, at the mouth of the Brisbane River.
PBPL chief executive officer Roy Cummins said the facility would be a vital piece of tourism infrastructure as it allowed bigger, longer cruise ships to berth closer to the city.
“We are pleased the Queensland Government recognises the need for a mega ship cruise facility in Brisbane and Port of Brisbane’s commitment to delivering the best possible outcomes for the State in the shortest possible timeframes,” said Cummins. “Port of Brisbane will work collaboratively with Government, all site neighbours, Council and the cruise operators to deliver a modern, efficient and attractive cruise facility.”
Currently there is nowhere in Brisbane to accommodate ‘mega ships’ (longer than 270 metres), which includes the most modern cruise ships of today and the future.
“By 2020, mega ships will represent approximately 60 percent of Brisbane’s vessel calls and without a new facility Brisbane, and Queensland, may miss out on future visits,” Cummins said.
“The new cruise facility will also act as a gateway to SEQ for thousands of additional international and domestic tourists every year, with substantial economic and tourism benefits flowing throughout South-east Queensland.”
Carnival Australia and Royal Caribbean Cruises, which involved in the market-led proposal, welcomed the State Government’s decision to allow further investigation of a new dedicated cruise terminal for Brisbane.
Carnival Australia executive chairman Ann Sherry said: “Today’s announcement means we are moving one step closer to a solution that meets the long-term needs of the industry for a modern terminal that can accommodate large ships in Brisbane,” Ms Sherry said.
“Some of the world’s most prestigious ships — such as Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth, which visits Brisbane later this month — currently have to berth at a grain terminal. Brisbane is a wonderful city that deserves a cruise facility that can cater for the growing number of larger vessels in the region.”
Royal Caribbean Cruises, which operates the largest cruise ships in Australia, also applauded the Queensland Government’s historic decision.
“In providing this exclusive mandate to the Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd the Government is making an important step towards positioning the sunshine state at the forefront of the burgeoning Australian cruise industry,” said Gavin Smith, regional vice president, RCL Cruises Asia Pacific.
“Only one of our 25 ships worldwide is able to access the current Brisbane Cruise Terminal. Almost all of our fleet are restricted to Fisherman’s Island because of height and length restrictions. In these circumstances the development of the new cruise facility on the eastern side of the Gateway Bridges with sufficient overall length and turning basin is a prerequisite to the continued growth of the cruise industry in Queensland.
“We are delighted that the Queensland Government has recognised the opportunity that the Luggage Point Cruise Terminal provides for the Queensland economy and community,” he concluded.
PBPL’s Cummins said the proposed facility has the full support of these two major players of the Australian cruise industry, which have the future demand to support it.
“A dedicated facility would support the industry’s planned expansion and enable Brisbane to become a base port for international and domestic cruises and a major cruise destination,” he said.
According to Cummins, Port of Brisbane has the financial and technical capability to deliver the proposed cruise facility at no risk to Government. It will potentially triple the size of Brisbane’s cruise industry over the next 20 years, growing to support 3,750 jobs, bringing 766,260 international and domestic cruise visitors annually to the City and State, and contributing approximately $1 billion in gross output annually to Queensland’s economy.
The proposed location is the only viable site in Brisbane to accommodate mega cruise ships because it has access to a swing basin for long vessels, a deep water frontage to minimise dredging costs, and separation from the main cargo-related activities of Fisherman Islands. Near the domestic and international airport, it also avoids air draft issues associated with the Sir Leo Hielscher bridges and there is scope to expand if necessary in the future.
During this next stage of the MLP process, Port of Brisbane will complete detailed design and all required environmental and technical investigations, with the final proposal subject to Government and PBPL Board approval, as well as Board approval from key stakeholders.