Mr D O’BRIEN (Gippsland South) (14:36): (5953) My question is to the Minister for Ports and Freight, also in her role as Minister for Fishing and Boating, and the question is: will the minister agree to provide funding to Gippsland Ports for the replacement of the McLoughlins Beach jetty? This issue has been dragging on for years, much to the frustration of the residents of McLoughlins Beach. The jetty is a significant tourism asset and is used by boaties and fishermen accessing Nooramunga and Corner inlets and of course Bass Strait. Gippsland Ports has indicated it will continue to provide maintenance only on the jetty, but its deteriorating state suggests that the point is coming where that will not be enough. The government is spending boating and fishing licence fees on new and upgraded facilities around Port Phillip Bay and Western Port Bay but very little in Gippsland South. McLoughlins Beach residents are already angry that the government, through Parks Victoria, has closed a public toilet at the jetty and refuses to reopen it. When will Gippsland and specifically McLoughlins Beach get their fair share?
McLoughlins Beach Jetty was last rebuilt over 35 years ago and is now approaching the end of its service life. It is one of more than 100 wharves, piers and jetties in Gippsland coastal waters used by marine businesses and local communities along the coast.
The Victorian Government continues to determine priorities for works to marine assets across the state. In 2020 the Government committed $24.4 million for pier upgrades under its $2.7 billion Building Works economic stimulus initiative. Included in the pier upgrades was a partial redeck of the Port Welshpool Marginal Wharf which is currently underway. Funding was also provided in April 2021 for a new pontoon for Toora boat ramp and an upgraded Seacombe boat ramp to improve access to McLennan Strait.
Piers and jetties play a significant role in Victorian communities, supporting marine businesses and local recreation as well as broader tourism opportunities. Through the State Budget 2021-22, the Victorian Government has committed $2.5 million to implement the Sustainable Local Ports Framework to provide a consistent planning and decision-making pathway. This Framework will ensure safe and sustainable piers and jetties for all Victorians, enable government to prioritise future investment and direct investment to where it is needed most. Based on priorities determined through the Framework, further marine asset projects will be identified for future investment.
A recreational boating strategy is being developed in consultation with boating stakeholders under the Victorian Government’s Better Boating initiative. Through that process the public boating facilities at McLoughlins Beach have been identified for asset renewal.
Hon Melissa Horne MP
Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation
Minister for Ports and Freight
Minister for Fishing and Boating