Cruise Ship Destination

Economic Development Pillar

The opportunity

Cruising is the largest growing travel sector in the world. Between 2008 and 2012, Australian passenger numbers doubled, while forecasts indicate that the cruise ship industry will be carrying one million passengers and contributing more than $3 billion to the national economy by 2020.

Cruise ship visits to the Station Pier International Passenger Terminal in Melbourne have grown healthily, with an increase of 16 per cent during the 2014/15 cruise ship season.

The cruise ship industry has identified the need for additional infrastructure to meet the growing demand of cruise ship visits to Victoria.

Station Pier would remain Victoria’s principal cruise ship facility; however there is a strong demand for an additional complementary cruise ship pier focusing on mid-range and boutique liners.

Even with its existing limited capacity, Geelong receives a number of cruise ship visits each season. With appropriate infrastructure, Geelong could attract a significant number more. A new berthing facility on an alignment of the former Yarra Street Pier has been identified as the preferred project location.

As well as meeting the needs of visiting cruise ships, the Cruise Ship Destination project would also provide the opportunity for the Royal Geelong Yacht Club (RGYC) to expand. It would provide additional marina berths and wave protection to the existing marina. Importantly, it would allow the Festival of Sails event (which currently contributes $13 million to the local economy) to expand, and would also help attract other major event opportunities to the waterfront, such as a Geelong Boat Show, World Championship events and other water-based events such as triathlons.

A thriving Cruise Ship Destination project also provides the potential for a cruise ship to nominate Corio Bay as its Home port. This would bring significant economic benefit to the G21 region, through the provision of regional food, wine and local services to the ship.

Project Aim

A new berthing facility will have capacity to cater for a large increase in cruise ships visiting Geelong. It will improve access to the water, support major events and enhance other recreation, economic and tourism opportunities.

It features a purpose built cruise liner facility that will accommodate visiting cruise ships, naval vessels and tall ships. The pier will include Australian Customs Service and Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service facilities, as well as commercial facilities including a visitor information service, coffee shop/lounge, souvenir/gift shop and taxi services.

The development also includes floating infrastructure that will extend berthing capacity. This will allow for expansion of the RGYC, increasing its capacity and providing the club better opportunity to secure major sailing events over the yacht racing season.

This project aligns with the RGYC Strategic Plan 2012-2016 and the Central Geelong Waterfront Master Plan (2011).

Geelong has previously received vessels at the privately leased Cunningham Pier. However, the existing Cunningham Pier is unsuitable in its present condition as a berthing point for major cruise ships visiting the Port of Geelong in both economic and practical terms.

The 2011/12 Yarra Street Pier business case assessed all options for cruise ship berths and found a new pier had a cost benefit ratio 2.5 times better than Cunningham Pier. The Cunningham Pier is also too short to accommodate the larger ‘Vision Class’ cruise ships, which would limit Geelong’s ability to establish itself as a major cruise ship destination.

Additional problems in utilising Cunningham Pier for visits by cruise ships include the need to close pier businesses and the commercial car park during cruise ship visits because of customs requirements. This would force the City of Greater Geelong to pay compensation to the businesses on the pier each time a cruise ship berthed.

Project Champion

Phil Clohesy, General Manager, Royal Geelong Yacht Club

Benefits for Victoria and the G21 region *

A redeveloped pier would:

  • create an economic benefit of $41 million to the G21 region, and $52.4 million to Victoria, in the first ten years of operation
  • create approximately 40.3 ongoing jobs and 234 during construction
  • create a more diverse and livelier waterfront experience that would lead to increased activity in Central Geelong
  • increase the capacity for the RGYC to secure major sailing events, further strengthening the region’s economy
  • create a safer harbour within Corio Bay that would benefit all users
  • provide additional attraction to Geelong’s Waterfront and stimulate visitation to our region.

What has been committed

The State Government has committed:

  • $4 million towards Stage One of the Geelong Waterfront Safe Harbour Precinct
  • $30,000 towards a Business Case to investigate the economic development impacts, costing, planning and required infrastructure of the project and determine an implementation strategy. The City of Greater Geelong, Tourism Victoria, and Geelong Otway Tourism also contributed towards the Business Case.

What is required

A Government commitment of:

  • $29.5 million to enable detailed planning, design and construction of the pier facility. Total estimated project cost is $36.9 million.

A Federal Government commitment of:

  • $9 million for Stage One of the Geelong Waterfront Safe Harbour Precinct (a $19 million project, with funding committed from the State Government - $4 million, Royal Geelong Yacht Club - $3 million, City of Greater Geelong - $3 million)
Footnote: * The economic benefit and job creation figures used on this page are from the 2011/12 Yarra Street Pier business case.