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Treasurer says economy may sink plans for Coast cruise terminal

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Queensland’s Treasurer has cast doubt over whether the Gold Coast will ever have a cruise ship terminal that has passengers disembarking at The Spit.

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It follows the announcement that construction tenders have been awarded for two new redevelopment projects for the popular recreation area.

Treasurer Cameron Dick has committed $5 million to create new public spaces, including a promenade and viewing platform, at the northern end of The Spit.

Dick said the local construction industry was facing huge challenges as a result of coronavirus and the projects would create 17 new jobs.

“That might not seem like a lot of jobs, but now more than ever every single job matters to Queensland,” he said.

“We’ve heard what’s happening in Victoria, they’re effectively shutting down building and construction.”

Burleigh Heads firm Hazell Bros Queensland won the contracts to build the public spaces, which also includes new seating and viewing areas along the sea wall, and fresh landscaping.

Moondarewa Spit foreshore upgrades will include new picnic tables, shelters, fountains, and beach showers.

The location has 360-degree views from the Broadwater through to Surfers Paradise.

Cruise ship terminal ‘very challenging’

The Treasurer raised doubts over whether the Gold Coast will ever have a cruise ship terminal that sees passengers disembarking at the Spit.

“I think it’s very challenging, to be honest, with the global economy the way it is,” he said.

“It’s very hard, particularly for people to travel internationally. That’s just the truth at the moment, so we just have to see how it stacks up.

“It would need to stack up economically and environmentally, in particular, for it to proceed.”

The Treasurer said a final decision will be made by the Coordinator-General within 12-18 months.

“The people of the Gold Coast can be assured of that independent and vigorous process before any decision is made,” he said.

Mayor says terminal still possible

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said it was unclear how the cruise ship industry would recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s too early to know the full extent of the impact that COVID-19 has had on the cruise industry and how long it will take to recover,” Tate said.

“So while I still see a cruise ship terminal in our future, now is not the time to be aggressively pursuing this.”

Gold Coast Waterways Authority CEO Hal Morris said the two new projects were a key milestone delivered under The Spit Master Plan, in line with community expectations.

“What we understand they want in the northern part is that it should be as untouched as possible, that there should be facilities for families and for picnics,” he said.

Residents and visitors who frequent the area said protecting the natural environment should be the priority.

“Keep it neat and natural,” said one cyclist.

“They need to keep the natural beauty,” another said.

“Reclaim the large sand bank south of wave break here, turn that like into a Garden of Eden,” a local surfer said.

“That’s creating more of what the public love, rather than putting a cruise ship terminal out there.”

– ABC / Sarah Cumming

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