Portarlington Safe Harbour

Economic Development Pillar

The Need

The Portarlington Safe Harbour project will provide a much needed enhancement of the existing marine infrastructure at Portarlington, which currently comprises the pier, breakwater and berths.

It will create local employment and support the important aquaculture industry by adding value to the established and growing mussel industry in Portarlington, and sustaining a growing scallop harvesting sector.

These improvements will enhance leisure activities on offer in the region and will assist in longer-term tourism opportunities through the development of additional recreational boating opportunities.

The Portarlington Pier is in poor condition, relying on short-term works to strengthen and protect the structure. It is important to execute long-term protection and repair to ensure that pier operations can continue, and potential impact on the mussel industry is minimised.

Project aims

The Portarlington Safe Harbour will be a high quality precinct incorporating commercial aquaculture and recreational fishing, boating, passive and active recreation and tourism activities for the local community, Bellarine Peninsula and beyond. This project will provide additional jobs in tourism, aquaculture, construction and service industries.

The Portarlington Safe Harbour Master Plan (2009) provides direction for the harbour and foreshore and integrates these with the nearby parkland and town centre. It includes plans for a wider pier that allows for separation of pedestrians and vehicles, and new facilities for boating related activities including:

  • up to 45 commercial berths
  • up to 100 recreational berths
  • a service berth comprising refuelling and pump out
  • capacity to accommodate a ferry service and tall ships within breakwater extensions
  • open space and landscaping
  • tourist-commercial facilities.

The Master Plan directions are included within Bellarine Bayside’s Northern Bellarine Foreshore Plan (2012), and all land managers have committed to working together to implement the plan.

The City of Greater Geelong and the Department of Economic Development, Jobs Transport and Resources have prepared a business case for the waterside elements of the master plan. The business case found that expansion of the harbour to allow for a larger commercial fishing fleet will generate significant economic benefits.

Project champion

John Nankervis, Chief executive officer, Bellarine Bayside Coastal Management.

Benefits for Victoria and the G21 region

A redeveloped Portarlington Safe Harbour will:

  • position Portarlington as the home of sustainable aquaculture and fine produce and a premier recreation and commercial boating hub
  • enable sustainable commercial fishing activity and local employment and investment opportunities
  • create a vibrant hub that is integrated with the town centre, and
  • increase recreational facilities and improve space and safety for public events such as the community market and mussel festival.

What has been committed

The State Government has committed:

  • $12 million to implement Stage 1 of the Portarlington Safe Harbour
  • $3 million for a new 175m long pier aligned alongside the existing pier
  • $30,000 for construction of the Portarlington Rotunda in the Town Square
  • $250,000 toward the Town Square redevelopment.

What has been delivered

Stage 1 infrastructure upgrades were officially completed and opened in December 2017:

  • a new commercial berthing wharf including 190 metres of new berthing
  • construction of 270m and 370m rock breakwaters
  • additional wave protection works, mooring facilities and ferry pontoon.

What is required

A State Government commitment of:

  • $7.9 million to complete waterside commercial infrastructure and improve road and pedestrian access to the harbour
  • support for ongoing improvements to community facilities and amenities on the foreshore
  • support to secure a site for a mussel hatchery.