Showing posts with label Yamba. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Yamba. Show all posts

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Yamba, the jewel in the crown of Clarence Valley tourism



The Daily Examiner, 18 September 2018, p.1:

The Clarence Valley is out-performing the whole state in tourism growth, according to Clarence Valley Council, with Yamba the jewel in the crown.

Director environment, planning and community Des Schroder said the Clarence Valley had recorded a 12.2 per cent growth, while NSW had only notched up a 5.7 per cent growth.

Tourism has become one of the Valley’s biggest employers with 6.8 per cent of people employed in the Valley working in tourism and hospitality according to Mr Schroder.

Council statistics show Yamba has become the fourth most visited town in the North Coast behind Byron Bay, Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour, with more tourists than Ballina, Tweed Heads and Old Bar, Taree.

Mr Schroder said according to NSW tourism research Yamba statistics are merely 30 per cent of Byron Bay’s tourism numbers at the moment, but it might not be that way for long.

“Yamba is growing but it’s not Byron Bay yet from a tourism point of view, but it’s getting up there,” he said.

Mr Schroder added the population of Yamba is fairly stable, but still growing.

He said the influx of people visiting Yamba around Christmas is starting to become a constant stream of tourists all year round.

“The impact of the highway will make a big difference,” Mr Schroder said. “The highway will improve access for people coming to Yamba from the north and south.”

With 30 per cent of tourists visiting Yamba hailing from South-East Queensland he said the council is conscious the tourism in Yamba will continue to grow.

“All council can do is put the framework in place,” Mr Schroder said.

“We need to manage lifestyle for the locals while allowing for tourism growth which balances jobs. You need tourism to create jobs but you don’t want to be over run by tourists.”…….

Friday, 7 September 2018

Yamba community successfully lobbied for the installation of a roundabout instead of traffic lights at intersection of Treelands Drive and Yamba Road


One of a number of signs along Yamba Road protesting the traffic lights

After a protracted debate on 21 August 2018 Clarence Valley Council voted to install traffic lights at an intersection in Yamba by five votes to four, with councillors Richie Williamson, Jason Kingsley, Andrew Baker, Arthur Lysaught and Mayor Jim Simmons voting in favour and Debrah Novak, Peter Ellem, Greg Clancy and Karen Toms against.

It was noticeable that all three Yamba councillors were against the motion, reflecting the sentiments of many local residents.

A formal rescission motion was lodged by Clrs. Toms, Ellem and Clancy which read:

That Council:
1. Rescind Part 2 and 3 of resolution 15.134/18 on Yamba Road/Treelands Drive Intersection Upgrade
And replace with the following points:
2. Adopt Option 4 - Mini Roundabout as the control measure for the Treelands Drive/Yamba Road
Intersection.
3. Complete the detailed design for the Mini Roundabout intersection of Treelands Drive and Yamba Road.

On 4 September this was considered at an extraordinary council meeting.

At this meeting the vote ratio reversed itself and Option 4 – Mini Roundabout was adopted by five votes to four.

Much to the relief of a crowded visitors’ gallery.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Clarence River Estuary communities need to remain both alert and alarmed as NSW Berejiklian Government seeks to expand exposure to international cruise ship industry


In July 2018 the NSW Berejiklian Coalition Government released the document “NSW Cruise Development Plan” to the delight of the international cruise ship industry.

This plan confirms that Berejiklian ministry - sitting in offices over 670kms south of the small towns of Yamba and Iluka on the banks of the Clarence River estuary - is still pursuing the idea that the Port of Yamba is a potential official cruise ship destination.

The state government also obviously expects that Clarence Valley local government will both accommodate the needs of the plan and contribute to the cost of meeting this aim if it is progressed.

To further the Berejiklian Government’s aim to make as many small ports or undeveloped harbours/inlets capable of use by cruise ships the NSW Cruise Development Plan states that:

A regulatory framework that fosters the competitiveness of ports, encourages the expansion of the tourism sector, minimises environmental impacts, protects the community, and supports jobs growth is required for the NSW cruise industry.
National regulatory barriers currently inhibit the cruise industry, including the small expedition and luxury cruise market’s, access to NSW coastal ports.

Differences in regulatory requirements between states also restricts the freedom of cruise liners to set national itineraries that take advantage of regional ports.
The NSW Government will continue to lead discussions with the other States, Territories and the Commonwealth on removing regulatory barriers that limit cruise ship growth potential.

Action: The NSW Government will investigate opportunities to remove regulatory barriers to entry for emerging cruise markets, including the expedition cruise market, and will seek an inter-jurisdictional policy position with other governments. [my yellow highlighting]

What the Liberal-Nationals government in faraway Sydney considers as “regulatory barriers” may not be what the people of the Lower Clarence River consider as impediments which should be removed.


They are in place for good reason and any weakening of these regulations has the potential to affect the environmental sustainability of an ancient, healthy and highly productive estuary system which is the largest in south-east Australia and, whose waters are covered by Yaegl Native Title.

Facts estuary communities may need to continually press upon a state government wrapped up as it is in a cosy relationship with the international cruise ship industry.

Monday, 23 July 2018

One of the reasons why local government, traditional owners and communities in the Clarence Valley should be very wary of home-grown and foreign lobbyists, investment consortiums and land developers – Part Three


In July 2018 the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) continues to hear evidence in Operation Skyline.

An organisation called United Land Councils Limited was mentioned as allegedly sending its then sole director Richard Green around New South Wales to talk with local aboriginal land councils concerning certain proposals.

These trips appear to have commenced sometime in 2015.

At least one trip taken in 2016 by Mr. Green was to Yamba in the Clarence Valley, allegedly at the behest of Nicholas Petroulias.

The subject of the alleged discussion/s with the Yaegl community in Yamba was the creation of a large port in the Clarence River estuary.

It shoud be noted that by July 2016 Yaegl elders and the Yaegl Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation were strongly opposed to a mega port being created in the estuary.

Mainstream media has been following current events as they unfolded.....

The Daily Telegraph, 13 July 2018:

AUSTRALIA’S youngest ever tax chief is behind bars after ­allegedly being caught with a wallet full of counterfeit cash, bank cards in different names and dodgy driver’s licences.

Nick Petroulias, once the nation’s second most powerful tax official, appeared before Burwood Local Court as Michael Nicholas Felson earlier this week having been pulled over by police while driving his luxury black BMW X5.

When the officers stopped him in inner-west Sydney on June 20, the 50-year-old is alleged to have handed them a current New Zealand driver’s licence in the name of another alias, Nicholas James Piers.

Police will allege that inquiries revealed Piers was a permanent resident of Australia and allegedly had a number of aliases including Nick Petersen, Michael Felson as well as his real name — Nick Petroulias.

Under his various aliases he is alleged to have held one NSW driver’s licence, three Queensland licences, one from Victoria and another from Tasmania, only two of which were current. He has not been charged over those licences.

Once a Melbourne legal whiz-kid, Petroulias (pictured left) was made assistant commissioner of the Australian Taxation Office at the age of 30. In 2014 he was declared bankrupt with eye-watering estimated debts of $104 million.

On Tuesday he appeared in court via videolink from Silverwater Jail dressed in prison greens as he used his fingers to flatten the “comb-over” hiding his bald head.

Court documents show he has pleaded not guilty to knowingly possessing seven counterfeit Australian $50 bank notes and two counts of possessing bank cards with the intention of committing fraud. He was refused police bail on June 20 and refused bail in Burwood Local Court the next day.

His case has been adjourned to August 14 when the court was told he will make a fresh bail application.

Newcastle Herald, 17 July 2018:

A member of the Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council has admitted to giving false evidence to the Independent Commission against Corruption and disobeying orders not to discuss its inquiry with other potential witnesses, after an intercepted phone call was played in which he told former tax official Nick Petroulias about an inquiry into land deals with which the pair were involved.

But Richard Green, former deputy chair of Awabakal, denied he was “tipping off” Mr Petroulias about the ICAC inquiry.

He was reprimanded by Commissioner Peter Hall QC for failing to answer questions directly.

“Mr Green if you're going to obstruct this commission you could be putting yourself into real trouble,” Commissioner Hall said.

On Monday, Mr Green was questioned about whether he spoke to anyone after receiving a summons from the ICAC in January, telling him he would be required to appear before its Operation Skyline public hearings and warning him not to discuss the matter with any other person.

When pressed by counsel assisting the commission, Nicholas Chen SC, Mr Green admitted he had a brief conversation with Mr Petroulias about the summons, but said it was because he had not read the warning contained within the letter.

However minutes later, a phone intercept was played where Mr Green was heard to read the contents of the letter to Mr Petroulias, including the direction to keep the summons confidential.

“That was contrary to the clear and express statement of what you were not permitted to do. Isn't that right?” Mr Chen said. “What's your excuse, Mr Green, for doing that?”

“Like I said before I don't – I haven't got an excuse,” Mr Green responded.

The inquiry heard that Mr Petroulias is in custody on unrelated charges. 

The former tax office high flyer is accused of playing a "central role" in four deals to sell off Awabakal land. The ICAC is investigating whether the deals were a sham to benefit Mr Petroulias, his lawyer partner Despina Bakis, and Awabakal board members Mr Green and Debbie Dates.

Mr Green conceded that his signature appeared on a number of the sales agreements. However he insisted he could not read well and had not read through documents when they were given to him to sign by either Mr Petroulias or Ms Bakis.
He could not explain why he signed the documents without telling other board members about them, despite board approval being a requirement of land sales. He agreed his behaviour was "reckless in the extreme" but denied he benefited financially from it.

"When you've got a person acting like Nick you take notice of them," he said. "And I keep saying over and over if people understand how Aboriginal land councils function they will understand what I'm talking about.''

Newcastle Herald, 19 July 2018:

Luxury cars, gold jewellery, and Foxtel subscriptions were among the items that Richard Green bought with money disgraced former assistant tax commissioner Nick Petroulias provided to him, allegedly for helping facilitate the sale of Aboriginal-owned land in the Lower Hunter.  

The Independent Commission Against Corruption heard on Wednesday that Mr Green, a former land council board member, is alleged to have received an estimated $145,000 between 2014 and 2016 for his personal benefit from Mr Petroulias. 

The money was received via several bank and credit card accounts that were operated in Mr Green’s name, but which appear to have been opened on behalf of him by Mr Petroulias. 

Mr Green appeared confused when presented with statements from some of the accounts and denied any prior knowledge of others. 

The commission is investigating whether a series of deals to sell Awabakal land to developers were a “ruse” to benefit former board members Richard Green or Debbie Dates.

It is also probing whether the first of the deals was a sham set up by Mr Petroulias – using a company he allegedly controlled called Gows Heat – so he could on-sell his interests to other buyers. 

BACKGROUND

25 September 2016 What's in a name?
  

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Killing coastal trees is an occupation for individuals with puny minds and shrivelled souls


Clarence Valley Council, media release, May 21, 2018:

Tree vandals hit Yamba again

MULTIPLE trees on the headland between Yamba’s Convent and Pippi beaches are dying in what Clarence Valley Council staff believe is a deliberate and brazen attempt to improve views for nearby residents.

Council’s works and civil director, Troy Anderson, said coastal trees had an important role in protecting headlands and landowners needed to remember they belonged to the community.

“The environment is not theirs to destroy,” he said.
“It belongs to everyone.”

Mr Anderson said about 20 trees had been poisoned in the area over the past six months. They included coastal casuarinas, coastal banksias, pandanus and tuckeroos – all native and endemic to the area.

“In the past two years we have lost between 50 and 100 trees along our coastline.
“We’ve had it happen in Wooli, Diggers Camp, Angourie and twice in Yamba last year – including the site of this latest poisoning.”

He said staff would prepare a report to council recommending a range of actions to mitigate tree vandalism that could include:

managing views for public benefit only at approved locations;

planting species that will enable views to be substantially retained in locations where those views may be enjoyed by the public;

public awareness and education initiatives;

installation of signage at the vandalised area;

installation of view screens or containers at the vandalised area, and
rehabilitation of the vandalised area.

“If people have any evidence of who might be responsible they should report it to council and we will follow it up,” he said.

The sites of where some of the trees have been destroyed.



Trees between Yamba’s Convent and Pippi beaches destroyed by vandals.....





Monday, 28 May 2018

Noble Caledonia Limited changes its mind about Port of Yamba-Clarence River?



noble-caledonia.co.uk, 27 May 2017

Noble Caledonia Limited’s “Australian Coastal Odyssey” twenty-two day cruise from 9-31 October 2018 - flying from London to Cairns to Port Moresby, then sailing through the Torres Strait and down the east coast of Australia to berth in Melbourne before returning home on 31 October - is still being advertised online and it just got a lot cheaper.

In an apparent effort to fill cabins aboard the vessel MV Caledonian Sky, the UK-based cruise line is now offering across-the-board discounts of £1,000 per two-person cabin.

There has also been a change in the ship’s itinerary for Day 16 - 24 October this year.

All mention of entry into Port of Yamba-Clarence River was removed from the cruise line's website sometime between 21 and 27 May and, Trial Bay, South West Rocks inserted instead for both its October 2018 “Australian Coastal Odyssey” and October 2019 “Australian Coastal Discovery” east coast cruises.
Caledonian Sky has already booked port berths/moorings in Queensland and Victoria as well as for two of the six official ports along the NSW leg of the 2018 cruise – Port of Newcastle (7am 25 October) and Port of Eden (7am 27 October). There is no published booking for Port of Yamba which requires piloted entry for sea-going ships.

Which has set Lower Clarence residents to wondering about the reasons for this welcome change of plan.

Some think it may be a public relations feint by Noble Caledonia to dampen expression of local concerns and it may yet decide to slip into the Clarence River estuary on or about 24 October this year.

Others point to the level of risk always associated with bringing ships like the 5-deck high, 91 metre long, est. 4,200 gross tonne Caledonian Sky across the entrance bar while avoiding collision with the culturally important Native Title reef “Dirrangun” and, the possibility that the cruise line’s insurance company might not be impressed if that risk were to be realised and it was faced with a second reef maritime incident in less than nineteen months involving the same ship.

Given the protracted negotiations between Noble Caledonia, its insurer and the Indonesian Government over a reported £350 million ‘fine’ incurred when the Caledonian Sky damaged over 18,000 sq. metres of pristine coral reef in the Raja Ampat island chain in March 2017, it is understandable that Noble Caledonia Limited may have reassessed the original “Australian Coastal Odyssey” itinerary and decided it preferred a less problematic short-stay mooring for Day 16.

Friday, 25 May 2018

Patagonia Australia held a "Never Town" conservation activism event at Yamba in May 2018


On Friday 18 May 2018 Patagonia Australia held a “Never Town” film showing and information night on environmental and conservation issues affecting the Clarence Coast.

NEVER TOWN TRAILER from Patagonia Australia on Vimeo.

The evening started with live music and a slide show against the sides of the water tower on Pilot Hill overlooking the Clarence River mouth and ocean at Yamba.

The good-sized crowd that gathered reflected the make-up of the Lower Clarence - retirees, young adults, families with children, along with local business owners and surfing enthusiasts. At least one Clarence Valley councillor was there.

Welcome to country was given by “Fox” Laurie accompanied by DJ Eamens on the didgeridoo.

Judith Melville spoke on some of the issues surrounding the state government’s proposal to designate Port of Yamba-Clarence River an official cruise ship destination and possibly build an international cruise ship terminal.

Dianne Chapman from the Yaegl Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation spoke of the Yaegl community’s connection to country and commitment to protect Clarence Valley land and waters.

After the film ended a Valley Watch Inc. petition was sent round the audience with this wording:

“We, the undersigned, respectfully call on the Premier of NSW, Gladys Berejiklian, Minister Melinda Pavey (Roads, Maritime and Freight) and Minister Andrew Constance (Transport and Infrastructure) to reject any proposals to allow cruise ships to enter the Port of Yamba or Clarence River estuary.

The Clarence River estuary is an integral part of a valuable Clarence Valley tourism sector which contributes over $300 million to the Clarence Valley’s annual income and employs more than 2000 people. To put that at risk for the dubious benefit to be derived from a brief morning visit is unacceptable, given the threats that a 4,000 tonne, 90 metre long cruise ship pose to the estuary, the fishing industry and Yamba/Iluka’s reputation as a clean, green holiday destination, and to the Dirrangun Reef, which is protected under the Native Title Act (1993).”

Anyone wishing to sign this petition can call in at the Valley Watch booth at Yamba River Markets held on the fourth Sunday of every month at Ford Park next to the ferry jetty. 

The next three market days are Sunday 27 May, 24 June and 22 July 2018.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Noble Caledonia Limited changes the 'spin' around its "Australian Coastal Odyssey" cruise and the Port 0f Yamba-Clarence River visit


It seems that Noble Caledonia Limited has decided to downgrade its description of the delights of Iluka and is trying to hide from locals the short amount of time MV Caledonian Sky passengers will be spending on land during the ship's brief stop over.

Spot the difference.

This was a snaphot of Day 16 of the cruise itineray taken on 20 November 2017....




This is a a snaphot of Day 16 of the cruise itineray taken on 20 May 2018....



Thursday, 26 April 2018

Well hoorah, NBN Co is to roll out its inbuilt obsolescence across Yamba commencing in June 2018


It has been reported in local media that NBN Co will be commencing the Yamba rollout of its allegedly high speed broadband in June 2018, with Maclean and Grafton rollouts to commence in January 2019.

This news is quite frankly underwhelming.

Whatever information NBN Co was giving out obviously didn’t include the type of connection that was on offer, as this important point was not mentioned by journalists and there is contradictory information on the company's website.

These three urban areas in the Clarence Valley are yet to hear if households and businesses are being offered fibre-to-the-curb, fibre-to-the-node or fixed wireless.

Because it is certain that the best option fibre-to-the-premises isn’t on offer to regional second cousins of the big metropolitan areas.

Personally I will carefully refuse to look at any construction works taking place in Yamba come June, July and August.

The sight of all those water-filled trenches will be too depressing.

Who starts extensive in-ground construction in winter at the low-lying, high water table mouth of a floodplain, I ask you?


* Image from Hakuri Sad Party

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Tweets of the Week




Monday, 5 February 2018

The Australian Face of UK-based Noble Caledonia Cruise Line


The Noble Caledonia Limited cruise line would like the option of extending the number of its cruise days this coming October when it boards its UK passengers on the MV Caledonian Sky for its Australian Coastal Odyssey down the east coast of Australia.

This “small” cruise ship of 4,200 gross tonnage, dead weight of 645t, 90.6m in length, 15.3m wide, with a 4.25 maximum draft, will enter the Port of Yamba-Clarence River across a difficult bar at the river mouth in a month where coastal storms and strong wind warnings are not uncommon.

A ship with a reputation for damaging reefs will attempt this crossing in close proximity to a culturally important reef protected by Native Title.

It will ignore potential risk - not just to the ship and marine environment but to race relations in the Clarence Valley should the ship’s captain collide for a third time with a mapped underwater natural feature.

Noble Caledonia will be sending its cruise ship into the Clarence River estuary because it can – reaping the benefit of insistent and persistent lobbying of the NSW Berejiklian Government by the international cruise industry.

Which included meetings last year between Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight & Nationals MP for Oxley Melinda Pavey and Royal Caribbean (28 February & 8 June), Carnival Australia (10 March, 8 June & 8 July), Carnival Global (21 March), Norwegian Cruise Lines (8 June), Cruise Line International Association (8 June & 21 June). As well as meetings between cruise ship industry representatives and Deputy Premier, Minister for Regional NSW, Minister for Skills, Minister for Small Business, Nationals MP for John Barilaro, Minister for Tourism and Major Events, and Assistant Minister for Skills, Nationals MP for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall. Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events and Minister for Sport, Nationals MLC Niall Blair and, Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Nationals MP for Bega Andrew Constance.

However, the then predominately British and Swedish owner-shareholders of Noble Caledonia Limited (UK) went one step further when they first contemplated a move into Australian waters. 

They formed a partnership with the APT Group (owned by wealthy Victorian businessman Geoff McGeary) in 2012 - thereby providing themselves with a number of Australian beards and the lobbying services of a political donor to the Liberal Party of Australia who had through this partnership become a significant shareholder in the cruise line.

Meet these alleged beards………………..

Christopher Phillips "Chris" HALL  – Group Managing Director of Noble Caledonia Limited and Noble Caledonia Holdings Limited since 7 May 2015, as well as Group Manager APT Group since July 2014 – allegedly still resident in Australia.

Ross Malcolm KEMP – Group Finance Director of  Noble Caledonia Limited and Noble Caledonia Holdings Limited since 9 October 2014, as well as Group Finance Director APT Group since 2012 – allegedly still resident in Australia.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

The true nature of Noble Caledonian Limited?


One can tell a great deal about a corporation if one looks at when and how it was created.

The Noble Caledonia cruise line* likes to brag that it was created in 1991 out of a passion for small ships.

The company which created the cruise line was called Quayshelfco  382 Limited (incorporated 1 August 1991) before its name change to Noble Caledonia Limited registered on 30 October 1991 and, it has extremely long articles of association.

Here is just one sub-clause:


Hmmmmm.......

Noble Caledonia also likes to boast that; Being an independent company where the owners are involved in all aspects puts us in a unique place. From this position of freedom and not having to pander to shareholders and financial institutions....

In fact this company is owned by Noble Caledonia Holdings Limited which in turned is owned by its shareholders Arawak Travel Holdings Limited (formerly Arawak Capital Limited) and Cruising Investments (NC) Pty Ltd and, the ultimate controlling party is Polhavet AB a company registered in Sweden.  Noble Caledonia Limited is not always free of the need "to pander" to financial insitutions as the group appears to borrow large sums as required.

* See opinion on Noble Caledonia's operations in Australia & South Pacific at  https://northcoastvoices.blogspot.com.au/2017/11/reef-destroying-cruise-ship-given-nsw.html

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Clarence Valley Council decides to open its door wide to the cruise ship industry


On 21 November 2017 at Clarence Valley Council’s ordinary monthly meeting Mayor Jim SimmonsDeputy Mayor Jason Kingsley and Crs. Richie WilliamsonArthur Lysaught, and Andrew Baker voted in effect to open council’s doors to the cruise ship industry by indicating in principal support for the Port of Yamba to be a designated cruise ship destination, with the possibility of establishing an international cruise ship terminal within the Clarence River estuary.

The debate in the chamber indicated that councillors received a number of emails on this subject from valley residents and that the majority of these expressed concerns about this Berejiklian Government proposal.

However, community concern was virtually ignored by both council administration and this group of five councillors hell-bent on doing Sydney's bidding after Nationals MP for Clarence Chris Gulaptis had reportedly lobbied on behalf of the proposal.

As usual Cr. Baker excelled himself when it came to the number of inaccurate statements he could pack into his participation in debate.

Concerned Iluka and Yamba residents now await this…….

FacebookABC North Coast, 21 November 2017:

Billy Walker The Yaegl Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation held a meeting last week where this issue was raised. Keep an eye out for our response in the local papers in the next week or so.

Friday, 17 November 2017

It is being suggested to Lower Clarence communities that inviting the cruise ship industry into the Clarence River estuary will bring financial gain to their towns - but will it?


At this month’s ordinary monthly meeting Clarence Valley Council will be considering whether or not to give in principle support to the NSW Government’s proposal to designate the Port of Yamba as a cruise ship destination and possibly build a cruise ship terminal in the Clarence River estuary.

The Berejiklian Government appears to be presenting this proposal as a way to increase the annual regional income of the Clarence Valley. But is it and will it?

Nowhere have I found any mention of the business model employed by the global cruise ship industry. An industry which seeks to create demand through the judicious use of political donations and paid lobbyists.

According to  Professor Ross Klein, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Research, Memorial University of Newfoundland; “Standing up to a cruise line can sometimes be difficult, especially given the industry’s generous contributions to political campaigns, their active lobbying efforts, and their degree of influence with mass media” [Klein, R. (2013) The Cruise Industry’s Business Model: Implications for Ports]

As an example, between 1997-2007 Cruise Line International Association spent US$10 million on lobbying the U.S Congress

In the first instance the business model used by cruise ship operators seeks to have passengers spend most of their money on-board the ship.

So many of the traditional services supplied on a cruise are no longer covered by the upfront cost of the fare and attract an additional charge per use.

Any land-based tours or shopping trips are organised by the cruise operator and not infrequently the cost is not absorbed by the cruise line so a fee for participation is paid by passengers directly to this shipping company.

The fee paid by the cruise operator to a land-based tour business contracted to supply the actual service usually ranges from as little as 10% up to an est. 50% of the fee paid by passengers.

Even when passengers leave the ship to wander around coastal zone towns you can bet that the cruise ship operator will have approached local businesses requesting a fee to include these businesses on a list of recommended shops/cafes/hotels/clubs - because that is part of the business model.


From state government a cruise line expects and often receives reduced harbour fees & charges and from state and local government it expects upgrades in infrastructure worth literally millions of dollars, without giving a firm guarantee that it will continue to use a particular port as a genuine destination rather than as a short "technical call".

What is worse is that once the cruise industry becomes established in a small port there is evidence to suggest that the regular incursion of up to 350 passengers at a time into coastal towns sees a decrease in the number of land-based tourists, who now see these towns as crowded and impersonal - no longer offering an intimate holiday experience.

It is these land-based tourists who fill Yamba and Iluka’s camping grounds, motels, hotels and holiday units and, are more likely to patronise the full range of dining/entertainment/sporting experiences on offer. So to see a significant proportion of them replaced by cruise passengers over time is not likely to compensate for the risk of economic loss during peak holiday periods in the Lower Clarence.

The first small cruise ship is due in Yamba on or about 24 October 2018 and this is it’s published itinerary: arrive during breakfast, disembark to visit “Flinders Well, Yamba Lighthouse, and the Yamba Historical Museum” or “alternatively walk in the nearby Iluka Nature Reserve”, return to ship for lunch and depart in the afternoon.

Now I'm no economist but even I know that this itinerary doesn’t exactly ring the till in a big way for businesses in Yamba or Iluka.

This cruise ship, which is a repeat offender when it comes to reef and coral damage, is probably coming in on the high tide but as it expects to leave in the afternoon it is not going out with maximum water depth under its keel  -  which should ring some alarm bells.

Through the prism of this industry business model the Port of Yamba will not be seen as a boutique destination but merely as one more excuse to extend the number of nights passengers spend on a floating hotel being milked by the hotelier for as much money as possible before they finally leave the cruise at a major city port.

What Australian lobbyists for the cruise industry are not telling the regional ports they are currently attempting to smoodge is that when it comes to Australian east coast cruise destinations Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne accounted for 65% of total passenger onshore visit days and 90% of the home port passenger onshore visit days. [Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)2016 & 2017]

Which means most of the spending money cruise ship passengers have in their wallets is more likely to be spent at large ports.

One cannot escape the suspicion that the health of the Clarence River estuary, existing coastal tourism revenue and safety of the Native Title reef Dirrangun are being placed at risk by this proposal, for what is essentially a dream of financial return for Lower Clarence communities rather than a solid reality.

Interested readers can find more information in the presentations included in the report of an international symposium held in 2013 which can be found at http://www.jbna.org/IS%20-%20Charleston-Report.pdf. For an idea of how many of these not-so-small cruise ships come into a regional harbour once berthing facilities are established see https://www.portauthoritynsw.com.au/port-of-eden/port-services-facilities/eden-cruise-schedule/.