Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan): My constituency question is directed to the Honourable Melissa Horne MP and is on the minister’s responsibilities for ports and freight. Recently I visited the Seaworks maritime site in Williamstown—a site with many heritage buildings and piers. I understand that the piers at Seaworks are the only place in Melbourne where tall ships from around the world can berth. I was disappointed to see that one of Seaworks’ piers had almost fallen into the water and the main pier was blocked off from boating and public access due to many years of neglect. The piers require urgent attention before it is too late. Once the piers and jetties are repaired and reopened, the increase in tourism revenue and the significant benefits to the communities in my electorate will far outweigh the rebuilding costs. My question to the minister is: can the minister advise when the government intends to fix these piers to make them usable again—and can the minister provide details on what the cost of fixing these piers will be?
Melissa Horne MP Minister for Local Government, Minister for Suburban Development, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, Minister for Ports and Freight (11 October 2022):
I thank the Member for Western Metropolitan for her question.
The Victorian Government appreciates that the Williamstown maritime precinct encompasses significant social, environmental and economic values for the community, businesses and its users, and opportunities for further development.
The Department of Transport (DoT) has developed a Williamstown Maritime Precinct Framework in conjunction with stakeholders and the community. The Precinct Framework, developed with Victorian Government funding of $200,000, seeks to protect and build upon the area as a premier cultural, maritime and boating destination, supporting future land use and infrastructure changes and unlocking potential benefits for current operations and the community. It delivers a strategic vision for the Precinct and helps inform prospective investment and development decisions.
DoT will seek that the Precinct Framework be reflected in relevant planning schemes to guide future precinct planning and land use.
Within the Precinct are a number of local port assets which will be considered under the Sustainable Local Ports Framework (Framework) to ensure consistency in decision making about local port assets across the state. In the State Budget 2021-22, the Victorian Government committed $2.5 million to implement the Framework. Implementation of the Framework has commenced with condition assessments of some local port assets in the Precinct being undertaken. It is also being used to guide decision making, prioritise future investment in local ports, and support local area planning, including in the Seaworks Precinct.
In addition to the Framework, the Victorian Government continues to invest in Williamstown’s marine assets and precinct with the following commitments:
- Funding under the Sustainable Local Ports Framework to develop a Local Port Area Plan, focusing specifically on the Seaworks precinct.
- $100,000 provided to Parks Victoria under the Local Ports Program in 2021 to undertake inspections of port infrastructure in the Seaworks precinct.
- $150,000 to deliver the Williamstown Wave, Wash and Surge Study.
- $650,000 in 2020 to repair and replace piles at Gem Pier as well as funding for fender installation under the Victorian Government’s $18 million investment in pier upgrades and critical works in the 2022-23 State Budget.
I appreciate the matters you have raised and acknowledge the strategic opportunities for development of maritime infrastructure at Williamstown.