The Facts About the Broadwater Marine Project (BMP)

A quick reference of basic facts, backed by hard data, verified research and historical precedence

A shipping terminal for the Gold Coast is a land grab by developers for prime waterfront land that belongs to us all. The cruise ship idea is a cover for seizing our public open space for the construction of casinos, hotels, condominiums, marinas and private commercial premises. All of these could be built elsewhere in the city leaving the Broadwater for open space and recreation for our growing population.

The current situation is that the government has four contenders for the contract and the free public land and will decide on one of them in June.  Three companies are foreign owned and one is Australian.

Loss of parks/recreation

  • Loss forever of 75ha of public owned open space areas, parks, foreshores, beaches and/or waterways and the immense beauty and relaxation these places give us.
  • Loss of recreational opportunities and space for our growing population for fishing, diving, surfing, kayaking, boating, walking and picnicking in parklands etc
  • Loss of premiere surf breaks and dive locations unlike any other in Australia, the associated social and recreational value, as well as tens of millions in proven income to the city (Value of waves report by Dr Neil Lazarow 2008)

Losses to existing businesses

  • Damage or loss of existing businesses that rely on the clean waterways and open spaces- diving, surfing, boating, whale watching, fishing, kayaking and more. Current income from recreational fishing and tourism is worth $110 million pa; recreational boating – $200 million pa; inshore diving – $20m and surfing- $233m (GCCC Report 2006) totalling $5.6 million pa
  • Compare this with an estimated income from 30 cruise ships p.a. of 3000 passengers (30% stay on board) with avg. passenger spend of $75 per person, which equals $150,000 per ship visit; or $4.6-$6.5 m pa (Midwood Report 2012)
  • Loss of jobs in existing businesses will be severe. It is highly likely that which ever company is given the contract, unless Gecko/SOSA stops this proposal, they will use their labour.

Costs to taxpayers

  • Costs of rebuilding the Seaway and possibly the initial dredging, to accommodate the ships over 300m long and over 22 storeys high. ($150m in Qld. Govt. IAS 2005)
  • Possible costs of endless dredging to keep the channel and swing basin open to huge ships.
  • Costs of maintenance of dock facilities/operating costs $8m pa partially offset by charging passengers $20 per head port fee. Port fees deter cruise companies from using the port. (Prof. Klein 2012)
  • Costs associated with big increase in essential services such as police, fire and ambulance
  • Massive local infrastructure expansion costs around the area – roads and utilities upgrades


  • Safety issues of bringing ships through narrow passage in unfavourable winds, tides, currents, swells and channel depths. (Nav. Report 2004) Maritime insurers reluctant to cover vessels, no insurance = NO SHIPS!
  • Safety of Broadwater and ocean users when huge ships enter and leave “port”. (ISPS code)
  • Increased vulnerability to maritime accidents due to more frequent extreme weather events. (Govt. IAS 2005)
  • Threats to the safety of small craft held at sea and unable to enter the Seaway for up to two hours while the cruise ship enters or leaves. (ISPS Code)
  • Increased flood risk for upstream/ canal estates with increased tidal volume and flows (GCCC Reports 1998, 2003)
  • Destabilization of the water table under Main Beach and Surfers Paradise. (Westham Dredge Report).
  • Potential flooding of canal estates and damage to ageing revetment walls.

Environmental damage

  • Environmental damage to marine life from dredging, pollution and foreign organisms. (IAS 2005)
  • Destruction of sea grass beds- marine life nurseries. (IAS 2005)
  • Loss of migratory shore birds and habitat, protected under international treaties. (IAS 2005)
  • Threatens endangered species such as turtles and dugong. (IAS 2005)
  • Ships generate the equivalent air pollution of 12 -14,000 cars per day while in port. (Ocean Conservancy 2010)
  • Increased crowds, commercial traffic, pollution in already congested city areas. (MB Traffic Survey 2006).

Alternative Economic Opportunities for the Gold Coast

  • Development of eco- tourism
  • Development of the Sustainability Centre at Nerang (an interactive science based interpretative centre promoting our natural environment, which has been on the Tourism Opportunity Plan of the GCCC for several years and has the support of UNESCO and Griffith University Centre for Eco Tourism Research).
  • Development of a world class cultural centre
    Investment in large festivals.
  • Investment in community activities for important calendar dates such as Christmas and Easter, such as the Christmas programme offered by Brisbane City Council.

We have many great minds in SEQ who could come up with a raft of strategies for boosting economic growth in a sustainable fashion that also boosts social and environmental values.

We encourage you to do some research yourself into the track record of the cruise industry, how their ports and vessels have heavily impacted areas and what kind of safety and environmental record they possess and you’ll quickly see that there is incredible risk, incredible potential for loss and little to gain from these proposals.

Do you really want Surfers Paradise replicated on the Broadwater?

Don't Believe the Hype - Go Find Out the Facts for Yourself - plenty of cruise ship terminals have been built at ratepayers cost and never had a ship visit.