Cruise ship terminal proposal for Yarra Bay

Save Yarra Bay

Save Yarra Bay


In July 2018, the NSW Government released the NSW Cruise Development Plan (CDP), to guide ongoing investment in ports for the cruise industry in NSW. The CDP was prepared by the Cruise Industry Reference Group chaired by the Hon. Peter Collins AM QC.

The plan identifies the need for a third international cruise ship terminal in Sydney to accommodate additional mega cruise ships coming to Sydney. Currently there is limited capacity at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay and the mega cruise ships are too big to fit under the Sydney Harbour Bridge to use White Bay.

The plan recommends a third terminal be located at Garden Island in Sydney Harbour, but this option was ruled out by former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in 2018.

The remaining options identified by the CDP were Yarra Bay and Molineux Point in Botany Bay. These two sites are currently the subject of a Strategic Business Case being undertaken by the Port Authority of NSW and NSW Treasury which is expected to be released some time in 2020.

While no specific proposal has been released, the establishment of a cruise ship terminal in Yarra Bay raises significant cultural, economic and environmental issues for Randwick City.

Randwick Council’s position

Council is opposed to the building of a cruise ship terminal. We are working closely with local community groups such as the Save Yarra Bay Coalition and State and Federal Members to stop a terminal from being built.

What we’re doing

  • Lobbying the State Government about our concerns and objection to the cruise ship terminal;
  • Writing to the State Government to release all information to the public relating to the Strategic Business Case for the proposed cruise ship terminal so that Council can make an informed submission on the proposal;
  • Allocating a budget of $50,000 to fund a study and research into the impacts of a cruise ship terminal in Yarra Bay and Molineux Point. This research will assess the potential economic and environmental impacts of a cruise ship terminal in this location. The study will be undertaken in 2020.
  • Advocating for state heritage listing of Yarra Bay.
  • Working with Bayside City Council to research the impacts of a cruise ship terminal.
  • Implementing a marketing campaign against the cruise ship terminal. This includes supporting the Save the Bay Coalition with event support and printing as well as flying street banners, bus stop posters and ‘save the bay’ material on our garbage trucks.

Why is a cruise ship terminal bad for Yarra Bay?

Yarra Bay is a special place in Botany Bay. It has significant historical and heritage value which is why it’s listed as a heritage item in Council’s Local Environmental Plan.

The area has significance for the local Aboriginal community and broader community who use it as an important recreational area for swimming, diving and fishing.

Tens of thousands of people visit Yarra Bay every summer to swim and play on its sparkling white sands. The local sailing club and local Aboriginal community also use the bay.

10 reasons why Yarra Bay is not the right site

  1. Visitors to Sydney want an iconic experiencing arriving through Sydney heads and into the harbour – not at in industrial port on Sydney’s outskirts.
  2. A terminal would require dredging Yarra Bay – destroying sensitive marine life.
  3. Additional breakwalls would have to be built to protect cruise ships and this would change the wave behaviour and tidal flows leading to coastal erosion.
  4. Hundreds of marine species would be affected including some rare and threatened species of coral found only in this area.
  5. Boats would be prohibited from going near cruise ships – effectively destroying the local sailing club and fishing in the area.
  6. Molineaux Point is home to a seal colony and rare Pygmy pipefish which are protected by the EPBC Act of 1999.
  7. Infrastructure including wharfs, cruise terminals buildings, roads and parking would have to be built to support a terminal.
  8. Diesel fumes from cruise ships would affect local communities.
  9. Swimming may be affected at the beach, meaning an important flat-water recreation area may be lost.
  10. Local Aboriginal people have a continuous connection with this area stretching back thousands of years. A terminal risks this social and spiritual connection losing accessing to traditional fishing and cultural practices.

What you can do

Local residents are urged to get involved with activities organised by the Save the Bay Coalition.

Join their Facebook Group or visit their website to find out about meetings, rallies, events or to order posters, flyers and tshirts. Volunteers are warmly welcomed to help out with the campaign.

Typical summer day at Yarra Bay Beach.

Yarra Bay Beach viewed from the Sailing Club.

Last Updated: 25 October 2022
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