Mr Elliott apologized to the community for taking until this year to clear the way for onshore power, which will be obtained from renewable sources.
An investigation into shore-to-ship power in 2017 led the NSW government to rule it out at the time, largely because of the $36 million cost of installing the technology.
Greens MP for Balmain Jamie Parker, a long-time campaigner for the technology, said the facility would “turn around” pollution from cruise ships and be “life-changing” for people in Rozelle and Balmain.
“Sydney has long been a dumping ground for the cruise industry’s oldest and dirtiest cruise ships,” he said.
†[The investment] has catapulted Sydney from the laggard of the international cruise industry to a global leader in environmental best practice.”
However, the mayor of the Inner West Council, Darcy Byrne, said the government should implement shore-to-ship power immediately, and not in two or three years. “This continued delay is not good enough,” he said.
Philip Holliday, CEO of the Port Authority, said cruise ship companies such as Carnival, Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises have committed to adapting their ships to shore power.
“There is a cost to their operations here,” he said, adding that it would be the world’s first bulk shipping area with shore power.†
The port authority predicts that the number of cruise ships calling at Sydney will return to pre-pandemic levels within two to three years. However, Holliday said he was optimistic it would happen sooner because “the numbers we’re seeing are already pretty positive”.
The pandemic also put the state government’s plans for a controversial third Sydney cruise terminal in Yarra Bay near Port Botany on hold.
Mr Elliott would not be drawn to his vision of Yarra Bay as a cruise terminal site, saying it was an issue for the cabinet to deliberate on.
“When the demand is there, all governments will have to consider what options are available,” he said.
In November, then Transport Secretary Rob Stokes said proposals for a cruise terminal in Yarra Bay were on hold because there were “a number of significant environmental concerns”.
Mr Stokes has said Garden Island is the “obvious location” for a terminal if the navy one day leaves the prized location in Sydney Harbour.
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