Greens MP Jamie Parker has expressed his dismay at today's amendment to the Navigation Act 2012, which will set an upper limit for fuel sulphur content only while cruise ships are at berth.
"Today's announcement by the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport has enshrined into law the degrading of the NSW Environmental Protection Agency's regulations to protect people across Sydney from toxic pollution from cruise ships," he said.
"The Federal change to the Maritime Act appears only to enforce half of the measures put in place by the EPA last year.
While cruise ships under the new Federal legislation will be forced to burn less damaging low-sulphur fuel at berth in the terminal at White Bay, they will now have free rein to burn more toxic higher sulphur fuel while travelling through Sydney Harbour.
This is exactly what the grinches of the cruise ship industry want - the Federal government has today given them a licence to pollute Sydney's air at will.
The toxic fumes emitted by cruise ships can cause a range of illnesses, including eye disorders, lung and cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Why are ships allowed to burn fuel in Sydney Harbour which has up to 35 times higher levels of sulphur than the fuel they are required to use in Europe and 3,500 times the level required by Australian diesel cars?
This could contribute to making Sydney the dumping ground for the oldest, dirtiest and most polluting cruise ships in the world."