The State Opposition says Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has “all but killed off plans for a cruise ship terminal on the Gold Coast” after the Premier told ABC radio another proposed cruise ship terminal at Luggage Point in Brisbane was a more likely option.
Palaszczuk told the ABC: “What we have seen … [is a] huge increase in the number of cruise ships coming to Queensland. In fact, there was over 300 just in the last year.
“We are seeing more of the cruise ships going in to places like Gladstone, out of Cairns, and the market-led proposal being run through the Treasurer has in place a proposal for a cruise ship at Luggage Point in Brisbane.
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“That has now gone to second stage, I am very confident that one’s going to get off the ground,” said Premier Palaszczuk.
Shadow Tourism Minister Jon Krause described the comments as a massive blow for the Gold Coast and its tourism sector.
“It is abundantly clear the Premier never supported the Gold Coast cruise ship terminal proposal, despite saying she did for the cameras.
“It seems the Palaszczuk Labor Government is doing everything in its power to destroy the tourism industry on the Gold Coast,” said Mr Krause, “now Labor has delivered a mortal blow for the Gold Coast cruise ship terminal proposal and with it the thousands of associated jobs.”
The Premier said that once the cruise ship terminal opens at Luggage Point – particularly with its proximity to the Brisbane airport – “there may not be a need for that second cruise ship terminal on Gold Coast.
“I am not going to say no…but I think you’ll find once it opens up here in Brisbane there is going to be a lesser need for it on the Gold Coast because people can travel down there quite conveniently,” said Premier Palaszczuk.
Earlier this year, Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said the City of Gold Coast would investigate several options for a local cruise ship terminal including extending the southern seaway rock wall, extending the existing sand pumping jetty near Doug Jennings Park and constructing a dedicated pier south of Seaworld to combine a cruise terminal and dive platform.
A report on the three options is due to be presented to Council in early 2017 before they develop a business case, agree on the final concept and approach the State Government.
“An Environmental Impact Study may follow and if so, that could take around 18 months. I have publicly stated that if the final design does not meet any EIS conditions, I will be the first to rule it out,” said Mayor Tate.
“I also commit to community consultation once we have a final concept in place.”