State and Federal Governments must have “new rules of engagement” for the cruise industry after COVID-19, following the debacle involving cruise ships in WA and NSW, WA’s One Nation leader has claimed.
Colin Tincknell has stated the nation’s engagement with the industry “must look different to what it does now”, claiming the nation’s governments need “the final say on who comes across our borders” and cruise companies the responsibility and cost of keeping customers safe.
In an opinion piece, Mr Tincknell said the moral and humanitarian dilemma for both WA and federal governments was “unacceptable,” and they should not have been given the responsibility to treat sick people despite moral obligation.
“We do have a moral obligation to treat sick people who arrive in our ports – whether by invitation or not,” Mr Tincknell said.
He said an inability to stop the vessels from arriving had created a problem after tourism campaigns
“These ships were in our waters because successive State Governments, chasing tourism credentials, have done and spent all they can to get them here,” Mr Tincknell said.
“The former Liberal National Government promised $950,000 to buy shoreline tensioners to encourage cruise ship to visit Geraldton, the current Government spent $15 million to dredge the Port of Broome to allow cruise ship visits and spent $3.25 million sprucing up the Fremantle Passenger Terminal.”
“It was an entirely different welcome for the Vasco da Gama last weekend when Premier Mark McGowan was saying cruise ship issues had “been a nightmare to deal with over the last week or so.”
Mr Tincknell also criticised cruise companies avoiding strict regulations.
“Most cruise companies register their ships under the flags of the countries such as the Bahamas, Panama or Liberia to avoid having to comply with the stricter marine regulations, labour laws and environmental requirements imposed by their own countries,” he said.
He said changes needed to be made to prevent situations experienced during the pandemic.
“Whatever a resurgent cruise industry looks like post pandemic our governments’ engagement with that industry must look different to what it does now,” he said.
Currently, 37 per cent of WA’s COVID-19 cases have originated from cruise ships with 176.