Harbourfront suburbs will now breathe easier after Turnbull Government agreed to renew restrictions on sulphur content of fuels that are used by cruise ships docked in Sydney Harbour.
Balmain residents living near White Bay cruise ship terminal have long been concerned about harmful emissions from 90,000-plus-tonne ships that berth in the harbour.
The Baird Government had responded to the community campaign and enforced the use of low-sulphur fuel inside the harbour but a federal-state jurisdictional issue rendered the NSW law inoperative in June.
While the state had insisted on the sulphur content of no more than 0.1 per cent of the tank, federal laws mandate a minimum content of 3.5%.
Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister said he had instructed the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to direct a 0.1% upper limit for fuel-oil sulphur content under the Navigation Act.
Some cruise ship companies have complained that low-sulphur fuel costs USD 250-a-ton more than heavier fuels and would impact on business, two major cruise operators - Carnival Australia and Royal Caribbean are already voluntarily complying.