Chief of Navy - Garden Island and cruise ships
17 July 2012
The article “Garden Island Get Out for RAN”, which was printed in the 17 July 2012 edition of the Daily Telegraph, selectively reported from a message I sent to Navy personnel on 16 July 2012.
In order to correct the record, the text of that message is detailed below:
“No doubt many of you would have seen media reporting yesterday and today regarding enhanced access for cruise ships to Fleet Base East following the Prime Minister’s speech to the NSW Labor Party conference. The purpose of this message is to advise you of what the Prime Minister announced in that speech so you can understand the facts.
The Prime Minister’s speech included the following section relating to cruise ships.
“…and today, I've announced new plans for harbour tourism. When the Queen Mary II, the worlds biggest cruise ship, came to Sydney in March it brought 2500 visitors to the city on its own. With a guarantee of expanded capacity, we could see a visit of that kind every month in summer. That's why we're expanding the number of guaranteed berths for the biggest visiting cruise vessels - ensuring three visits this coming cruise season and another three the next. And we'll prepare a plan to meet the long-term needs of our cruise industry.”
This announcement has two components, firstly, three cruise ships visits to Fleet Base East during the 2012-13 cruise season and another three visits in the 2013-14 season. The second component is the intention to develop a longer term plan relating to the needs of the cruise industry. As you all know berthing space at Fleet Base East will be at a premium once the LHDs arrive commencing in 2014, this is why there is a need, as the Prime Minister announced, for a longer term plan, one that accommodates other interests but does not compromise the primary purpose of Fleet Base East and Garden Island.
The media reporting that has occurred since the announcement has, as you can see, misrepresented what was actually announced by the Prime Minister. Navy will continue to work collaboratively on this significant policy issue. What has been agreed and announced does not adversely impact our ability to operate at Fleet Base East and Garden Island. I do not want any public commentary on this issue from Navy people, like other policy issues with significant public interest; I am the only authorised spokesperson in Navy on the matter.”