Exclusive: Aussie companies call for urgent re-start of cruise industry

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<p>The ongoing ban on cruise ships in Australia is devastating businesses who rely on the booming $5b industry.</p>
The ongoing ban on cruise ships in Australia is devastating businesses who rely on the booming $5b industry.

And companies fear if the ban is not lifted at the end of the year, the busy summer season will be shattered, sparking a new wave of job losses not only for them, but for related workers who rely on the industry.

Cruises support 25,000 jobs in the country, and tens of thousands more worldwide.

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Carnival is among cruise firms not allowed to sail. (Supplied)

Sydney, the country's busiest cruise port, sees 115,000 passengers a year, and during the summer season from December to March, multiple cruise ships dock in Sydney Harbour daily.

But Circular Quay has remained silent since the end of March .

Almost 30 passengers on the Ruby Princess ship died after the virus spread on board at the start of the pandemic, with NSW Health blamed after it then tore through the country when passengers disembarked.

Since then, cruise ships have not been allowed to dock anywhere in Australia .

Industry bosses who are campaigning for a resumption of sailings, say they're better prepared than any tourism industry to safely restart cruises - and will test every passenger before they board.

However, cruises are unable to start up again, with Carnival Australia recently cancelling cruises into the New Year.

Farmers could be hit next

Most of Paul Nelson's fruit and veg, gathered via his firm, In2Food in Sydney, goes to make lavish meals for cruisers.

In2Food supplies ships from its Sydney base. (Supplied)

What grew from a family business started by his father-in-law now supplies every cruise line which sails out of Australia.

But since the industry shutdown, Mr Nelson said he has lost "millions" of dollars, has had to close a warehouse and shed 14 staff.

The knock-on effect has even impacted the truck drivers he uses to cart the produce - he would usually send 21 trailers a week to ships…
Sarah Swain
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