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  • 19/01/2018 06:15 PM

    Glebe Island: the gateway to Sydney’s future

    The cruise industry might be the jewel in Sydney’s crown but it’s the working port at the heart of the harbour that will fuel the city’s future, says Grant Gilfillan, CEO of Port Authority of New South Wales.

    The latest statistics are out. The value of the Australian cruise industry has leapt passed $5 billion for the first time – up by 15.4% on the previous year. A report by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) shows that New South Wales leads the Australian cruise industry once again and contributes $3.1 billion to the national economy.

    A record year for cruise

    These results are not surprising as a record 350 cruise ships are scheduled to visit Sydney over the 2017/18 cruise season. Regional NSW will also benefit from the cruise boom as more ships visit destinations outside of Sydney than ever before. Eden, Newcastle and Port Kembla have all seen a leap in cruise visits over recent years. 

    But while cruise ships might dominate Sydney’s harbour and the headlines, it’s worth remembering that central Sydney still has a working port of vital strategic importance.

    Reinventing Glebe Island

    The port at Glebe Island is at the centre of the Bays Precinct Urban Transformation Program: an ambitious urban renewal plan to reinvent and revitalise a central area of Sydney Harbour and transform it into a hub of commercial, residential and recreational innovation.


    This long-term project, along with 70 billion dollars’ worth of other major works like WestConnex, will require immense amounts of construction materials such as cement, sand and aggregate for the concrete supply chain.

    Port Authority of New South Wales always knew that Glebe Island would be the gateway that would make these projects possible. Glebe Island is uniquely placed to provide a low cost and sustainable entry point for construction materials needed in the CBD and Bays Precinct.

    Glebe Island gives us the opportunity to reduce on-road congestion and pollution and create a marine-based supply chain to deliver bulk materials right where they’re needed. Independent modelling has forecast that annual construction material throughput at Glebe Island would be between six and eight million tonnes within the next 30 years.

    Now, following the recent strategic review of Glebe Island by Infrastructure NSW, the NSW Government has endorsed a recommendation to retain and expand port facilities at Glebe Island to meet the strategic supply needs of the construction industry.

    Integrating ports with innovation

    The reinvention of the area means that any port facilitates of Glebe Island must also innovate. Space in central Sydney is at a minimum, and price is at a premium. To succeed in maintaining a working port in the midst of urban renewal in a cosmopolitan city, we have to be forward thinking, we have to adapt and do things differently. It is our vision that a working port would seamlessly integrate as part of a technology and innovation precinct.

    New South Wales already benefits from world-class port facilities in Botany, Kembla and Newcastle, but a world-class working port in the economic centre of the state will help drive Sydney’s infrastructure and urban renewal boom for decades to come. 

    Glebe Island in Sydney Harbour has been a working port for over 100 years. With the NSW Government announcing its support of retaining and expanding the port and its critical harbour activities, Glebe Island’s contributions to the city’s growth and development is set to continue.

    The cruise industry might be the jewel in Sydney Harbour’s crown but it’s the working port at the heart of the harbour that will fuel the city’s future