Small lin­ers could be turned away

Broome Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - Glenn Cord­ing­ley

Smaller cruise ships car­ry­ing hun­dreds of pas­sen­gers could con­tinue to be turned away from Broome be­cause a pro­posed new gang­way would not be de­signed to reach exit points lower than the jetty.

In­dus­try sup­port group Cruise Broome re­cently wrote to the State Govern­ment call­ing for a so­lu­tion to pro­tect the town’s rep­u­ta­tion as a top des­ti­na­tion for ocean lin­ers.

The move came af­ter the Kim­ber­ley Ports Author­ity can­celled a book­ing for the 700-pas­sen­ger ca­pac­ity Re­gatta in De­cem­ber as the KPA does not have a gang­way to suit that type of ship.

In a let­ter, Cruise Broome told Trans­port Min­is­ter Rita Saf­fi­oti, Tourism Min­is­ter Paul Pa­palia and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Alan­nah MacTier­nan that planned vis­its from two more ves­sels — one in the same month and another in Jan­uary 2019 — would also be can­celled.

A week af­ter the com­plaint was made, the State Govern­ment re­vealed in Par­lia­ment un­der ques­tions from north­ern Aus­tralia shadow min­is­ter and Mem­ber for the Min­ing and Pas­toral Re­gion Ken Bas­ton, that a gang­way con­struc­tion ten­der for Broome was clos­ing on May 25, 2018.

On be­half of Ms Saf­fi­oti, En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Stephen Daw­son said the struc­ture would reach 10m above the wharf deck and meet the needs of “al­most all 2018 cruise ves­sels”.

He said a 26-week lead time was an­tic­i­pated for con­struc­tion, not in­clud­ing trans­port and on-site com­mis­sion­ing.

Ms Saf­fi­oti said the State Govern­ment was dis­ap­pointed to learn re­cently there was no im­me­di­ate so­lu­tion to pro­vide all tide ac­cess to some smaller cruise ves­sels.

But she said Broome was at­tract­ing in­ter­est from a greater di­ver­sity of ves­sels af­ter a $7 mil­lion com­mit­ment from her Govern­ment to dredge the Port of Broome and give larger cruise ships all-tide ac­cess to the jetty, any time of the day or night.

Ms Saf­fi­oti said the num­ber of cruise ves­sels un­able to be pro­vided all tide ac­cess to the Port of Broome af­ter con­struc­tion of the new gang­way ar­range­ments would be “min­i­mal”.

“The State Govern­ment’s cur­rent in­vest­ment will solve the is­sue of pro­vid­ing all tide ac­cess to big­ger ships with thou­sands of pas­sen­gers,” she said. “Once we have com­pleted these works, we will be in a bet­ter po­si­tion to look at ex­pand­ing Broome’s ca­pac­ity for smaller cruise ves­sels.

“We will be watch­ing cruise in­dus­try trends closely and will work with lo­cal in­dus­try to see if de­mand from this sort of cruise grows to in­form fu­ture in­vest­ment de­ci­sions.”

Ms Saf­fi­oti said she has asked the Kim­ber­ley Ports Author­ity to ex­plore “all pos­si­ble so­lu­tions” that could ex­pe­dite ad­di­tional ac­cess to more cruise ves­sels.

Mr Bas­ton said the Govern­ment’s gang­way time line sug­gested it would be op­er­a­tional in early 2019, pro­vid­ing a suit­able ten­der was re­ceived and ap­proved.

“Main­tain­ing an ex­cel­lent rep­u­ta­tion with cruise ship op­er­a­tors is vi­tal to en­sur­ing this lu­cra­tive trade con­tin­ues to grow along the WA coast,” he said. “I en­cour­age the min­is­ter to keep a close eye on this project to en­sure it is de­liv­ered as soon as pos­si­ble.”

The Dawn Princess in Broome.

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