Searoad Ferries plans $17m terminal upgrade

Transport Pillar

SEAROAD Ferries is seeking public feedback on plans for a new $17 million world-class terminal building at Queenscliff, to be part of a $35 million upgrade of facilities on both sides of Port Phillip Bay.

Australia’s busiest passenger and car ferry service aims to provide ‘beautiful and safe’ new buildings for local commuters, daytrippers and international tourists travelling between Queenscliff and Sorrento.

A key architectural feature of the new building would be a curved roof providing weather protection for passengers boarding or disembarking across all seasons.

A new pedestrian boardwalk would lead from the terminal to the beach and a three metre-wide public pathway would have a lookout to the east and outdoor seating facing west, encouraging enjoyment of bay views.

Searoad Ferries says it received Borough of Queenscliffe approval for a planning scheme amendment in 2013, allowing redevelopment of the precinct with a new terminal, public boardwalk and viewing platform.

Plans for the new terminal became public in the Geelong Advertiser today (8/8/2017) but Searoad Ferries was still in the process of submitting a development plan to the Borough council.

A council statement issued today said it had not received a plan for consideration.

“Under the provisions of the Queenscliffe Planning Scheme, a development plan for stage two of the Queenscliff ferry terminal upgrade must be submitted to council by the ferry operator, Searoad Ferries, for approval by council,” the statement said.

“Council and representatives of Searoad Ferries have met to discuss the Queenscliffe Planning Scheme requirements relating to the ferry terminal upgrade proposal as part of a pre-application process.

“Council is aware that the proposed ferry terminal upgrade works require consent from the State Government’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning pursuant to the Coastal Management Act.

“This process requires community consultation to be undertaken. Council has been advised that the ferry operator will be commencing community consultation next week.”

Searoad Ferries chief executive Matt McDonald said the upgrade would mean pedestrian passengers would have safer access to and from ferries via a retractable walkway rather than sharing road access with vehicles.

“The Queenscliff ferry terminal can offer so much more to the community and tourists,” Mr McDonald said.

“We know how important this is to the local community so we look forward to hearing their views on this exciting project.

“The proposal offers significant community benefits including better safety and pedestrian access to the pier, hundreds of new jobs in the construction phase and a major economic boost for the region.

“It will give ferry passengers all the facilities and amenities they need, whether they are commuters, day-trippers or international travellers.”

The Queenscliff improvements would upgrade access for people of all ages and abilities, with amenities including bathrooms, sheltered waiting areas, tourism desk, retail and food outlets and a café with indoor and outdoor seating.

Last year Searoad Ferries transported more than 800,000 people and 200,000 vehicles across the bay.

Work planned for Sorrento includes building of a new double storey terminal.

Searoad Ferries will seek public feedback during a series of drop-in sessions at The Pavilion in Queenscliff’s Lower Princes Park. People can view and discuss plans at The Pavilion between 9am and 1pm on August 16, 19 and 23.

People can visit for more details and send responses to or PO Box 214, Queenscliff 3225.

Sources: Searoad Ferries and Borough of Queenscliffe media releases

  • Searoad Ferries chief executive Matt McDonald will be part of a panel discussing Great Ocean Road visitor economy at G21-Geelong Region Alliance’s annual Stakeholder Forum on September 1. Other speakers during the forum will include ABC 7.30 anchor and Walkley award-winning journalist Leigh Sales, national Labor leader Bill Shorten, national Greens leader Richard Di Natale and Member for Corangamite Sarah Henderson, representing Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Buy forum tickets here.