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NSW government to buy seven Tasmanian-built ferries

Manufacturing News

The NSW government has said it will procure seven new Parramatta Class ferries, made by Richardson Devine Marine of Hobart, spruiking their superiority to the overseas-built River Class ferries ordered by the previous Coalition government.

The new ferries will travel the Parramatta to Circular Quay route, have a predicted service life of 25 – 30 years, and will be “future-proofed” to allow for conversion to electric propulsion “as battery, charging and engine technologies improve.”

A statement from premier Chris Minns on Monday added that the vessels would be aesthetically similar, though without the 43 issues that “plagued” the River Class and delayed their entry to service by over a year, such as stalling engines and “upper deck seating that was deemed too dangerous to be used when passing under Camellia Railway Bridge and Gasworks Bridge.”

The Indonesian-built River Class began service in October 2021.

The new vessels will be designed by Incat Crowthers on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. They will replace seven Cairns-built RiverCat vessels, with construction by Richardson Devine to begin in July.

“The NSW Government is committed to building things here again to create jobs, boost manufacturing and end the failed offshore imports of the previous Liberal Government,” said premier Chris Minns.

“I’m looking forward to the day I can announce a brand new NSW-built ferry. It won’t be easy, and it will take time, but we are determined to do it.”

The opposition was quick to call the announcement a broken promise, citing a comment by transport minister Jo Haylen that,We need to build our trains, trams, buses and ferries right here.” 

“This is a great deal for Tasmanian workers, but workers in NSW are getting shafted by a Premier who is now sending jobs he promised them to another state,” said shadow transport minister Natalie Ward.

“Manufacturing elements of the Sydney Ferry fleet in Tasmania is not a revolutionary step in domestic manufacturing.”

Picture: The Dawn Fraser RiverCat (credit Nick-D/Wikimedia Commons)

Further reading

NSW imports trains that don’t fit tunnels, now ferries that won’t go under bridges

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