By DALLAS SHERRINGHAM
PARRAMATTA will be linked to Sydney CBD by a new fleet of state-of-the-art ferries which promise to make the Harbor route faster and more attractive to commuters and tourists.
The fleet of seven Australian-designed ferries are set to hit the water in Western Sydney, with the NSW Government investing in new vessels to service commuters and visitors along the iconic Parramatta River to Sydney CBD route.
Tenders have opened for the local construction of seven new ferries to ensure superior transport infrastructure for the people of Greater Parramatta.
The Government’s emphasis on Australian built vessels follows a storm of protest over trains, trams and ferries being built overseas. Sadly, the new Manly ferries have been savaged for their dreadful design and performance.
The new Parramatta vessels will also be ‘ugly ducklings’ if the artist’s impressions from the State Government are to be adopted.
The ferries appear to follow the Manly design disaster and lack any exterior appeal when compared to new international designs.
Minister for Transport, Veterans and Western Sydney David Elliott said the NSW Government was committed to boosting local manufacturing and encouraging local content as part of the State’s record $76.7B investment in transport infrastructure over the next four years.
“It is vital to our economy and the domestic market that we back Australian ingenuity, design and local manufacturing,” Mr Elliott said.
“These new state-of-the-art vessels will fly the flag for our Western Sydney commuters and deliver a first-class service to the thousands of commuters who use the ferry network each day to travel to and from work, school, or leisure activities.”
Mr Elliott said the seven new Parramatta River ferries, were designed in Australia by experienced local ship designer, Incat Crowther.
“I strongly support local manufacturing and am excited by the opportunity this tender will provide for local businesses to help deliver Australian-designed vessels for our world-class city,” Mr Elliott said.
“While we already have a record low unemployment rate in NSW, the more we can design and also build things right here in Australia, the more jobs and opportunities we will create for our community.”
Transport for NSW Chief Operations Officer Howard Collins said the new design would ensure the 200 person capacity was maintained, but vessels would be more fuel efficient than older models with improved seating and access for passengers.
“These vessels will make a trip along the Parramatta River not just one of the most iconic commutes in the world, but a must-do for visitors who come to our wonderful city,” Mr Collins said.
“These Parramatta River ferries will also be future-proofed for conversion to electric propulsion when the network infrastructure is ready.”
The seven new ferries will predominantly run the F3 Parramatta River route, replacing seven RiverCat vessels after 30 years of service.
To encourage bids from local ship builders of all sizes, tenderers will be able to submit proposals for each or multiple vessels.
Image: Artist impression of the new ferries.