26 September 2023

New river ferries to flow in from Tassie

Start the conversation

Seven new Australian-made ferries are to take to Parramatta River following a contract being awarded to a Marine Shipbuilder in Hobart, Tasmania.

According to the Premier and Minister for Transport, the new Parramatta Class ferries have been designed by naval engineers based in the Northern Beaches of Sydney.

They said the ferry design will be a ‘vast improvement’ on the 10 overseas-made River Class vessels that entered service in October 2021.

Among the shortages of the River Class included: Not being able to fit under some bridges with passengers on the top deck; Asbestos; Sub-standard fit and finish; Wheelhouse window angles making night operations dangerous; Engine stalling; Potential of fires or electrocution caused by sub-standard electrical equipment; and Sub-standard steering components.

Transport for NSW has worked closely with naval architects operator Transdev and union representatives to ensure the faults that plagued the River Class ferries are not repeated.

“While aesthetically similar, the new Parramatta-class vessels won’t include upper deck seating that was deemed too dangerous to be used when passing under Camellia Railway Bridge and Gasworks Bridge,” the Ministers said.

“The new ferries will also be future-proofed, allowing for future conversion to electric propulsion as battery, charging and engine technologies improve.”

They said the ferry engines were usually replaced after five years of service, providing a number of opportunities to make the upgrades during the 25-30 year working life of the Parramatta Class ferries.

“The 7 new vessels will replace 7 Cairns-built RiverCat vessels, which are ready to retire after 30 years of faithful service,” the Ministers said.

“The RiverCat vessels were the first passenger ferries to chart a course all the way to Parramatta wharf in 1993.”

They said construction of the new ferries would begin in July.

“Over the last decade NSW has lost 42,000 manufacturing jobs in the same time that Victoria only lost 27,000 and QLD gained 6,000. What’s more, NSW has missed out on 4,000 more jobs due to offshoring.

“The NSW Government is committed to building things here again. We’ve committed to beginning the procurement process for the next set of trains to replace the ageing Tangara fleet.”

A target of 50% minimum local content for future rolling stock contracts, by the end of our first term – just like Victoria.

Premier Chris Minns said the new commitment would produce Australian-made NSW-designed ferries equipped with modern propulsion technology to ferry passengers well into the future.

“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 Premier said.

Transport Minister, Jo Haylen said the RiverCats had served the Parramatta River faithfully for over 30 years, with the new ferries having the same 200 person capacity, while using 40% less diesel.

“It’s exciting to be supporting Australian manufacturing, with ferries that are ready for a net-zero future,” Ms Haylen said.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.