Government Response to white Bay Cruise Ship Inquiry Falls Short

Leichhardt Mayor Rochelle Porteous said a lot more work needs to be done to address resident concerns following the release last week of the Government’s response to the White Bay Cruise Terminal Inquiry findings.“The fact is the Government has failed to act in a number of key areas, with a response that falls well short of Council and community expectations.”

Cr Porteous said the Government’s failure to back the recommended need for an Environmental Protection Licence, as identified by the Inquiry, shows just how far it has its head in the sand by refusing to act decisively to address the ongoing operation of the Terminal with its resultant air and noise pollution.

“And instead of immediately implementing ship to shore power as the Inquiry also recommended, residents are instead going to get a feasibility study that may drag on for some time while they continue to suffer unacceptable levels of noise and air pollution,” she said.

The key points of the Government’s response in relation to the Inquiry findings include:
• The government does not support the Inquiry recommendation to require the cruise terminal to have an Environmental Protection licence, arguing that the existing development consent, along with existing and proposed changes for managing noise and air quality, preclude the need for the licence
• The Minister provided ‘in principle’ support to the recommendation that the Government approach the National Protection Council to request a review of air pollution limits – in this regard, the government noted the work the EPA had done on particulate matters and ‘in principle’ support was agreed to strengthen reporting standards.
• The Port Authority will be required to complete a feasibility study for shore to ship power. The government has acknowledged community concerns and advised the Port Authority is working with the cruise industry to work on operational practices.

In speaking before the Inquiry late last year, Mayor Porteous and Council officers listed a number of resident concerns that developed since the opening of the Cruise Terminal in April 2013.

“The fact is putting cruise ships with running engines, invasive noise and diesel fumes belched out across the peninsula just next door to family homes was always going to have significant impacts,” said Cr Porteous.

“The Environmental Protection Agency did not ensure that the amenity of the residents was adequately addressed during the planning stages of the Terminal and was ineffective in addressing the air and noise pollution from the cruise ships once it opened.”

“While the recent announcements of temporary suspension of overnight Cruise Ship berthing and the anticipated regulation of sulphur fuel have been welcomed, we are yet to see the sulphur fuel regulated.

“The fact is that the Government should have accepted and fully implemented all the findings that were delivered after what has been a great deal of expert research and wide community input,” she said.

For additional comment, phone Leichhardt Mayor Rochelle Porteous on 0418 213 054 or Media & Communications Coordinator Brendan Berecry on 0434 141 583

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Page last updated: 21 Nov 2018