Save Sydney's Iconic Manly Freshwater Ferry

Decision Maker: Council

Decision status: Recommendations Determined


Moved by Councillor Scott, seconded by Councillor Scully -

It is resolved that:

(A)        Council note:

(i)          the NSW Government plans to phase out the iconic Manly Freshwater Ferries this year, committing that only two will continue to operate, hourly, on weekends and public holidays. During the week the service will be replaced with faster, smaller Emerald Class ferries;

(ii)         the F1 Manly Ferry Route is one of Sydney’s major tourist attractions and the ferries are picture postcard Sydney, along with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge;

(iii)        in 2019, Pre-Covid, more than one million international tourists rode the Manly Ferry. A total of 4.4 million passengers chose the classic slow ferry journey against the Fast Ferry option also available on the Circular Quay/Manly route;

(iv)       a NSW Parliamentary Petition of 22,000 signatures to retain the Freshwater Class ferries was tabled on 25 March 2021; and

(v)         serious questions are being raised about the suitability of the replacement Emerald Class ferries for the famous F1 route. Reports of major defects of the ferries have delayed their commission into service. Concerns are also been raised about their suitability to handle the swells crossing the Heads; and

(B)        the Lord Mayor be requested to:

(i)          write to the members of the NSW Legislative Council’s Portfolio Committee No 6 – Transport and Customer Service, calling on them to immediately undertake an inquiry into the decision of the NSW Government to effectively decommission the historical, social and economically significant Freshwater Class Ferries from the Circular Quay to Manly F1 Route; and

(ii)         write to the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Transport Andrew Constance expressing support for the continuation of the iconic Manly Freshwater Ferries.

The motion was carried on the following show of hands:

Ayes (8)          The Chair (the Lord Mayor), Councillors Forster, Kok, Miller, Scott, Scully, Thalis and Vithoulkas

Noes (1)          Councillor Chung.

Motion carried.


Report author: Erin Cashman

Publication date: 17/05/2021

Date of decision: 17/05/2021

Decided at meeting: 17/05/2021 - Council

Accompanying Documents: