On 16 June 2011 Minister for Defence Stephen Smith announced an independent review of enhanced cruise ship access to Garden Island naval base in Sydney. The review will be led by Dr Allan Hawke, and will report findings to the Minister for Defence in early 2012.
The independent review will assess whether there is scope to enhance cruise ship access to Garden Island without adversely impacting on its priority role of supporting Navy maritime operations, including ship repair and maintenance. The review will focus on opportunities for greater civil-military cooperation in the use of finite berthing resources for very large cruise ships visiting Sydney.
The review will also take into account the increase in use of Garden Island by new, larger Royal Australian Navy ships including the Landing Ship Dock vessel HMAS Choules, the two Canberra class Landing Helicopter Dock ships, and three Hobart class Air Warfare Destroyers. These new ships will require suitable berthing facilities and will draw on Sydney's strong industry support base for maintenance and repairs.
The independent review will carefully assess whether there is scope for a more flexible approach that balances Navy's needs with cruise industry requirements to secure berth bookings for cruise ships well in advance of their visit to Sydney Harbour.
The Minister for Defence released the completed Independent Review of the Potential for Enhanced Cruise Ship Access to Garden Island Sydney [PDF 6.5 MB] on 29 March 2012.