Infrastructure NSW has withdrawn the $12.7 million funding for a cruise terminal project in Newcastle port.
Port of Newcastle was working on the project on behalf of the NSW Government on the basis of “providing a facility that meets the cruise industry’s needs, but within the funding provided.”
Amongst cost increases – as the project planning and negotiations dragged on – was the engineering tag for a huge curved roof.
Does Throsby detect a hint of snark from the re-elected state government, after local media pressured the Premier and the Transport minister during an interview that produced an extraordinary outburst by minister Constance and an equally unprofessional snide aside from the Premier Berejiklian impugning The Herald.
When NBN’s Dave Threlfo gave that incident the microscope with a Trump comparison on Twitter, it went viral during the preelection run up.
The government is also taking flack from ongoing revelations regarding snuffing the port’s chances of a super container terminal, allegedly written into Port of Newcastle’s lease, and with the ACCC taking action on Ports NSW on the matter.
What probably irks Novocastrians is that $13 million dollars is a mere rounding error on the trams budget – yet a cruise terminal is as significant to the region’s tourism and visibility as any infrastructure project funded and built in the past decade.
So, for the foreseeable, tens of thousands of future cruise passengers will first experience Newcastle via a large white tent enclosed by rent-a-fence in a dockland wilderness far from the city’s heart.
Port of Newcastle released a statement of diplomatic proportion, not surprising since a privatised port places shareholders before public benefit, and admits there is no profit for Port of Newcastle in a cruise ship terminal.
While disappointed construction of the terminal facility cannot proceed at this time, we respect that funding is no longer available.
Our consultations with the cruise industry have been beneficial in better understanding its needs and ensuring that the design of any future infrastructure will be well-informed by industry.
We’re pleased that $800,000 of upgrades to mooring bollards, jointly funded by the NSW Government and the Australian Government, have enabled larger ships of up to 3,900 passengers to berth in Newcastle.
Port of Newcastle will continue supporting the Hunter’s tourism sector by berthing cruise ships in port and coordinating the many wonderful volunteers dedicated to welcoming visitors to our city.
Others weren’t so submissive.
Tim Crackanthrop channelled Novocastrian thinking, that “it’s a very sad day for Newcastle and the region.”
Just another example of the Liberal government turning its back on Newcastle and the Hunter.
The government would have known that Newcastle would need more than the paltry $12.7 million offered, when Eden, in the Minister for Transport’s electorate, is about to cut the ribbon on a $44 million cruise ship terminal."
Infrastructure NSW has since indicated the original $12.7m stands should the project proceed as agreed on funding.