Environmental Protection Authority Had Failed Balmain Residents

Leichhardt Council cautiously welcomes a report on the NSW Environmental Protection Authority and the White Bay Cruise Ship Terminal which acknowledges that the Authority has clearly failed the Balmain community.

Mayor of Leichhardt, Cr Rochelle Porteous, said that the report backs what Council has said all along: that the cruise terminal should never have been located next to a small inner city village.

“The report clearly states that the decision by the previous State Government not to have the cruise terminal at Barangaroo was a serious error,” she said.

The report also concedes the significant impact that fumes, noise and vibrations from the ships have had on the surrounding community.

“The bottom line is that the EPA did not do the work that they needed to do to protect our local community,” said Cr Porteous.

“There was an opportunity at the approval stage for the EPA to be stronger and more proactive in pointing out the risks and putting in stronger controls, and they failed in that.”

“There are however some very valuable recommendations in the report, like the ship to shore power, which we welcome. But we want action on this urgently.”

The report acknowledges the significant health effects of higher sulphur fuel, and that the resulting health effects outweigh the economic considerations of a single industry.

However, in a significant omission it has failed to make any specific recommendations regarding the use of this high-pollution fuel by the Cruise Ship industry in Australia.

“This is a critical issue that needs to be urgently addressed and acted upon,” said Cr Porteous

“The committee acknowledged that levels of pollution are too high, now strong action needs to be taken.

“This can't be put in the too hard basket - that's just not good enough.

“The Government needs to act now in mandating low sulphur fuels for the cruise industry and in retrofitting White Bay terminal for ship to shore power.”

Background
Recommendations from the Inquiry into the Performance of the NSW Environment Protection Authority

Recommendation 10 82

That the NSW Government amend the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 to require cruise ship terminals to hold an environment protection licence.

Recommendation 11 82

That the NSW Environment Protection Authority immediately approach the National Environment Protection Council to request a review of the air pollution limits set under the National Environment Protection Measures.

Recommendation 12 82

That the NSW Government require that:

cruise ship operators using the White Bay Terminal be required to develop noise mitigation strategies and that noise be monitored and limits be enforced
the White Bay Terminal be retrofitted to include shore to ship power.

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Page last updated: 16 Nov 2018