Ferry McFerryface wasn’t public choice for new ferry name – Costing the tax payer $100,000

Miscellaneous

Ferry McFerryface wasn’t public choice for new ferry name

The controversial Ferry McFerryface was a name handpicked by NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance even after he was warned by senior bureaucrats of the risks.

A 9NEWS freedom of information investigation has revealed the competition to name a new fleet of ferries costs a whopping $100,000.

Documents reveal Ferry McFerryface was not only ineligible to be accepted under the government’s own criteria but it attracted just 182 votes.

Mr Constance chose Ferry McFerryface despite spending $100,000 to find out what name the public wanted. (9NEWS)Mr Constance chose Ferry McFerryface despite spending $100,000 to find out what name the public wanted. (9NEWS)

Clean Up Australia founder Ian Kiernan was the clear winner for the ferry’s naming rights with 2025 eligible votes.

Other names on the shortlist were author May Gibbs, Sydney Opera House architect Jorn Utzon, former Governor Dame Marie Bashir and artist Ken Done.

“It’s been a name for the kids,” Mr Constance said.

Before the competition was launched, Transport for NSW drew up a briefing for Mr Constance that proposed “mitigating the risk of satirical naming campaigns” and avoiding “the highly publicised mishaps in the naming of ships in other jurisdictions”.

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They include British research vessel Boaty McBoatface and a whale being tracked by Greenpeace Mister Splashy Pants.

The document says the competition “… is aimed at mitigating as far as practical the risk of this situation arising”.

Mr Constance signed off on the plan – on the single proviso of “no fish names”.

About 12 months later he ignored the advice and went ahead with naming the vessel Ferry McFerryface.

“We got global attention and a bit of fun for the kids with selfies and grandparents,” Mr Constance said.

“We followed the panel recommendations for the first 5, but for the last one we thought let’s do something a bit different.”

Catherine Hamlin, Fred Hollows, Victor Chang, Pemulwuy and Bungaree were selected as the names of the remaining five ferries in the new fleet.

It is understood the government is working on changing the name Ferry McFerryface.

It is considering keeping Emerald 6, which is what it’s official name is for maritime purposes.

Opposition Leader Luke Foley has committed to scrap the name altogether if elected.

“Andrew Constance, we know he can’t run a train system but now he can’t name a ferry,” Mr Foley said.

“He ought to just put the cue in the rack.”

© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2018

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