The State Government is considering the findings of a review of cruise passenger charges sought by NSW Premier Mike Baird as part of efforts to support the continued growth of NSW’s booming cruise vessel industry.
The Premier asked the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to recommend maximum fees and an appropriate charging structure to:
- reflect the Port Authority of New South Wales’ efficient costs of providing existing services to cruise ships, and the need to maintain its commercial viability over the long-term
- encourage efficient use of cruise terminal infrastructure
- maintain the viability and growth of the industry.
The number of cruise ship visits to Sydney’s two terminals – the Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT) at Circular Quay and the White Bay Cruise Ship terminal near Balmain – has doubled in the past five years, from 153 visits in 2010-11 to 314 in 2015-16.
The Port Authority charges cruise ships site occupation charges (based on passenger numbers on board a ship when it arrives) for the use of the cruise terminals and plays a key role in investing in the sustainable delivery of cruise infrastructure.
The site occupation charge is currently $30 per passenger and the IPART review looked at the suitability of the charge being increased to $35 per passenger.
IPART has released its final report and recommends that cruise ships docking in the OPT be charged a flat rate of $72,300 per ship (irrespective of the size of the vessel) and those docking in White Bay be subject to a site occupation of $31.10 per passenger.
The Government is now considering IPART’s report and will consult with relevant stakeholders before responding.