- Editorial Staff
- None noted
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- September 2012 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
For more than two centuries, and almost continuously since the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, naval ships have found safe berths at Garden Island.
Recent commercial pressures on these valuable resources are described below. Following recent media reports there has been an amount of speculation about the future of the Fleet Base at Garden Island. In order to correct undue concern, the Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, AO, CSC, RAN sent the following message to naval personnel on 16 July 2012. This appears below for the benefit of our members. ‘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 sections relating to cruise ships. “…and today, I’ve announced new plans for harbour tourism. When the Queen Mary II, the world’s 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 is 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 ship 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. RANAs 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.’