INSIGHT: Speech by NSW Premier Nathan Rees
The Honourable Joe Tripodi, Minister for Ports and Waterways
Doug Olding, President of the Boating Industry Association of NSW
Industry stakeholders, investors and supporters
I thank Mike Bailey for that welcome, and I begin by reiterating my Government’s
firm commitment to the growth and sustainability of the NSW boating industry.
We know how tough it has been for the industry over the past 12 months.
I applaud your resilience in presenting a spectacular show, an event that
displays Sydney and Darling Harbour at their very best.
Boating is not just a great Australian pastime when times are good.
It’s even more important when times are bad, giving thousands of Australians
the chance to get away and restore some peace of mind.
We need to be mindful how important boating is to the welfare of so many
And we need to remember that the best boating is safe boating, because noone
wants to hear that knock on the door and find a police officer on the front
veranda bearing tragic news.
As the Minister just said, safety is actually the number one concern of boaties.
A small minority may wish to hoon around our waterways.
But the vast majority of boating enthusiasts want a safe and happy day on the
water, and they certainly put safety top-of-mind when it comes to boating at night.
Joe mentioned earlier today there will be a Marine Precinct at the Show. Its
youngest member will be the newly formed Marine Rescue NSW.
These guys are like the State Emergency Service or the St John Ambulance of
the waterways – skilled and professional volunteers who are there when things
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As you all know, we had three volunteer marine rescue groups all working the
And when I became Minister for Emergency Services back in early 2007, I saw
tremendous potential to bring these groups together and create one magnificent
organisation, which would be better resourced and more professional than the
there separate components could hope to be on their own.
I’m proud to say – this potential is becoming a reality.
Last year at this breakfast, Joe announced that the Government would provide
$3 million as a one-off transition grant on top of our annual grants of around
At the time, our plan was to achieve this goal in two years.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I’m proud to say we’ve done it in less than one.
Just four weeks ago, on July 1, Marine Rescue NSW was formally registered,
and we happily handed over that extra $3 million.
This amalgamation is a great achievement for every member and every
You will be part of an elite organisation that can only grow in strength and
significance as the years and decades pass.
Each and every one you has my deep gratitude and thanks.
In special recognition of your efforts, interested rank and file members will go
into a draw for the first ten membership numbers of Marine Rescue NSW. You
will carry those numbers with pride, remembered as pioneers of Australia’s
premier marine rescue organisation.
A number of Marine Rescue NSW Board members are here today, and I thank
them for their spirit of leadership and service.
What remains now is to appoint a Chief Executive to manage day-to-day
operations and drive the organisation forward.
Today, as the next stage of our reform agenda, I can announce the appointment
of Inspector Glen Finniss from the Police Marine Area Command to become the
Interim Chief Executive of Marine Rescue NSW.
This idea actually came from Marine Rescue NSW and I’m grateful for their
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Inspector Finniss has been working in this field for 30 years and is an ideal
suggestion for the top job. He will serve for an initial period of six months, and
his position will be funded by the NSW Government.
Glenn’s passion and commitment to the work of the volunteers has been well
known to you over many, many years. He will be in a great position to integrate
the new group and build a strong and positive relationship with the Police
A new era of marine safety in NSW begins.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Another important group of willing volunteers are our new Boating Safety
Our first Safety Ambassador is well known to many of you.
He is Andrew Ettinghausen, not only a legend of rugby league but someone
who understands and loves the boating world.
ET has donated his time to help launch the new “Boat for Life” campaign, and
I warmly applaud his contribution.
The campaign starts with a new website www.boatforlife.com.au going live
today, featuring ET providing safety tips aimed at the trailer-boat fisher.
Our next Safety Ambassador is renowned international yachtsman Pete Goss
who recently arrived in Sydney and is here with us today.
Pete has already given his time to filming segments for this campaign and is
devoting his messages to better trip preparation and planning.
He will be telling us how important this is a little later this morning.
This work is just a small part of our overall effort to spend $3 million over the
next three years from July 2009 to promote boating safety education announced
at last year’s Boat Show.
Bays Precinct consultation
On a completely different topic, Joe mentioned the work we’re doing to make
Sydney Harbour a more user-friendly location for the boating community.
I want to back what the Minister has said.
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As the Bailey’s Marine example proves, we can deliver viable and sustainable
maritime industries on Sydney Harbour, especially the bays west of the Harbour
It won’t be easy. Our standards of heritage, environmental protection and
consideration of residents’ needs are much higher than they were when the
bays were first opened up two centuries ago.
It’s all about getting the balance right.
My Government recognises that the Bays Precinct covering Glebe Island, White
Bay and other adjacent areas are important to both the local community and to
That’s why we are undertaking a long and detailed consultation process on the
best way to utilise the priceless waterside assets.
I urge all of you to look up our website and make your views known:
This is a vital opportunity to comment and put your case on the protection of
Sydney’s maritime economy.
So get involved and have your say.
Major Infrastructure Projects
As I said before, sensible and sustainable developments around Sydney
Harbour will always have a sympathetic ear. Three projects of significance to
your industry have already gained approval, and I want to speak about them for
Earlier this year, NSW Maritime pressed ahead with plans to redevelop the
southern side of Blackwattle Bay, immediately west of the Sydney Fish Markets,
as a maritime precinct.
Maritime issued a Request for Proposals and I can announce today that All
Occasion Cruises Pty Ltd is the preferred proponent. Features of the proposal
- Reconstruction of the former coal bunker wharf
- a three-storey building for office and retail use
- a permanent charter vessel facility
- a modern 18-berth marina for charter vessels
- increased foreshore access, and
- a bus set-down lane to encourage public transport.
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While final details of the proposal are being negotiated, the marina berths and
the working harbour development are targeted for completion in 2011, with the
office and retail development to follow in 2012.
Earlier this year NSW Maritime advertised for Requests for Proposals for the
purchase of the Superyacht facility, and the redevelopment and long-term lease
of the adjoining dry land.
Sydney Superyacht Marina Pty Ltd has been selected as the preferred
proponent to replace the temporary structure with a new permanent and
Final negotiations are now in progress.
A Development Application has been approved to accommodate 24 stern-to
berths and pontoon fingers, providing for vessels between 20 and 70 metres
These two developments will bring investment of over $50 million to Rozelle
and Blackwattle Bays and generate around 300 jobs in construction and
Finally, I would like to report progress on what will become one of Sydney
Harbour’s biggest maritime precincts – Homebush Bay West.
The site is a relic of our industrial past and the boating industry rightly holds a
vision for its future.
The landward parts of Homebush Bay have been transformed over the past
decade into a rich and vibrant residential, commercial and sporting precinct.
The Government believes that the same tide of renewal which has occurred on
land can also be extended to the water.
Rozelle Bay has been the key maritime precinct for this, the first decade of the
21st century. Homebush Bay West will fulfil that role for the next decade.
In particular, the landmark 2GB aerial site presents a magnificent opportunity for
marine industry development.
The 2GB aerial will soon be removed and the site will become vacant.
I am therefore delighted to announce today a call for Registrations of Interest to
redevelop Homebush Bay West as a maritime precinct.
We want as many potential commercial partners as possible to register their
interest so we can select a shortlist of the very best to submit tenders.
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Why is this site so important to the maritime community?
Well, it’s 18 hectares of land with 900m of waterfront access, providing
unrivalled access to the Parramatta River and Sydney Harbour for boaters from
Not only that, it will combine environmental sustainability and recreational
opportunities, making it a venue to rival the Darwin Yacht Club or the fishing
boat port at Fremantle.
Imagine sitting there on a Sunday afternoon, enjoying a beer or a cocktail,
watching the sun slowly set over the bay to the west.
It’s a magnificent vision and one that has my full support.
The project will start with a major new public boat ramp providing first class
access to the river and harbour.
Construction on the ramp is expected to start in 2012.
All told, the project is expected to involve investment of $300 million and create
more than 500 jobs in construction.
This facility will include wet and dry-stack boat storage, boat launching and
slipping, manufacturing, maintenance, rowing, and, of course, entertainment
The existing Master Plan will also be reviewed with the developer to incorporate
the western side of the headland.
I know the industry has a number of suggestions such as increasing the amount
of dry boat storage and providing direct boating access to the Parramatta River
All of these issues will be dealt with through that review.
Homebush Bay West will be Sydney’s great maritime achievement over the
Proof of my government’s continuing commitment to this valuable industry, and
to the 1.5 million people who go boating every year in our great State.
That’s what it’s all about: support – understanding – investment in your industry.
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Boating has been the mainstay of this State since the day Arthur Phillip and his
11 ships sailed into Port Jackson.
Today, it’s not only our export lifeline to the world.
It’s a source of jobs and investment here at home.
And – above all – a rich source of satisfaction for hardworking Australians who
just want the right to get out on the water and enjoy the peace and beauty of
this land that’s been so richly blessed by nature.
I wish all exhibitors and industry members well over the course of the Show.
I thank you again for your optimism and resilience in these difficult times.
And I assure you of my ongoing commitment and support.