Freo's View

CRUISESHIP DISASTER FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, cruiseliners, fremantle ports, tourism by freoview on May 8, 2017

The announcement by Australia’s largest cruiseship company Carnival Cruises that it no longer will use Fremantle Port as a home port for their cruises is a disaster for Fremantle and will come at a high cost to the local economy.

No P&O superliners will be based in Fremantle any more and that means that the number of cruises out of Fremantle will go down from 60 cruises during the 2016/17 season to only 17 during the 2018/19 season.

This will no doubt have a negative impact on retailers and the hospitality industry in Fremantle and that is hugely disappointing.

Carnival Cruises say that issues with WA Ports such as Geraldton, Broome and Exmouth are to blame and new WA Tourism Minister Paula Papalia says that outdated facilities at the Fremantle Passenger Terminal are also responsible for the pull out.

Passengers arriving or boarding in Fremantle have to pull their luggage for miles on either side of the railway line, rain or shine, to and from the railway station or inner city accommodation.

Now before anyone starts bleating and blame Fremantle Council for this, it has nothing to do with them but with State Governments of the past not being pro-active enough to relocate the passenger terminal closer to B Shed and the railway station.

Fremantle Council has suggested improvements for many years and does have significant plans for development of Victoria Quay with their South Quay Project, but it needs to be supported by the WA government and Fremantle Port, and that has not been forthcoming.

Mayor Brad Pettitt said: “It would be a serious blow to Fremantle retailers if we were to see a decline in the number of cruise ships coming to Fremantle. They play an important role in bringing more tourists not only to Fremantle but the whole of Perth.

While I understand a lot of the concerns are facilities in Broome, Geraldton and Exmouth, there is also a legitimate concern as to the experience passengers have when they arrive in Fremantle. Arriving in the middle of giant car park and a sea of cars is hardly inviting and I know many of us cringe when we see often elderly people pulling suitcases in the hot sun towards the Fremantle CBD.

But as they say where there is a crisis there is an opportunity. This will hopefully see a stronger focus on improvements to South Quay. The new ALP State Government have pleasingly made this one of their election commitments and I am looking forward to bring this to reality as soon as possible.”

Roel Loopers

2 Responses

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  1. Andrew Sullivan said, on May 10, 2017 at 11:31 am

    The building itself is a great asset and was extensively renovated in recent years. The problem is it’s in the wrong spot. For as long as Fremantle Ports utilises all they area around it as a secure RORO car park the terminal will be hopelessly isolated.

    Freo Council has been asking for action for at least six years. Unfortunately, Freo Ports can’t do anything as tourism is not considered to be their core business. To their credit, they did investigate the practicalities of relocating the terminal up to C Shed and confirmed it was possible, but also insisted that the tourism arm of government had to be the driver.

    The last government, especially the then Transport Minister, Troy Buswell, point blank refused to discuss any port related or train station related planning matters with Fremantle Council. The Council persevered anyway and we were able to seed the idea of a new terminal that linked straight into the train station and across into Queen Street. This concept is included in the new strategic vision for Victoria Quay and Fremantle Station.

    We also promoted the quite reasonable idea that the old Terminal could easily be linked to a new terminal by extending what is essentially an elevated terminal space floating above an operational port. This would allow for multiple cruise ship berths and to ensure the terminal could still be used for those cruises that involved large volumes of passenger exchanges in Fremantle. It would also make the massive terminal available for large public events once again.

    A very practical and workable vision is already embedded in the planning for the area thanks to the foresight of the Council. Importantly, the cruse ship activity can have a symbiotic relationship with any new retail, commercial and tourism development at Victoria Quay. If such development is well connected into Queen Street, it will also help with the revitalisation of the city centre itself. All that is required is for the State government to seize the opportunity! Hopefully Simone McGurk MLA, Josh Wilson MP, and others can help with that.

  2. freoishome said, on May 8, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Really is time for the State Government to consider separating the management and development of the dockside and the coastal strip bordering the CoF down to South Beach, into zones that are required 1) now, 2)in the long term for Port Ops, Marine and harbours and PTA, and hence establish a plan of handing over the land no longer needed for their core functions, like Port Ops, to the CoF.
    Resistance from CoF neighbouring LAs to enable Freo to grow to a more sustainable size have failed, and I see no reason for that changing in the future. So, the only way is Freo to takeover the land currently managed by Gov’t Depts that is not used for their core functions, and do what LAs are set up to do, manage the land on behalf of the community. This is NOT a suitable role for a Port Authority.
    The FPA certainly has a role in supplying modern facilites for tourist vessels birthing, embarking, but beyond that it should be the role of Tourism and their interaction with LAs and related businesses. CoF being one of those key Tourist based LAs!
    This would also free up FPA staff to plan the development of a purpose made, state of the art, Freight Rail, based container port at Kwinana.
    Paul


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