The state government has announced it will give $3 million to Seaworks at Williamstown if legislation to privatise the Port of Melbourne passes through parliament.
Williamstown MP Wade Noonan said the money would help the Seaworks maritime prcinct at Ann Street pier develop as a museum for boats, exhibitions and events.
“The history of Williamstown is intimately linked to its maritime history and Seaworks does a magnificent job in promoting that heritage,” he said.
“With this funding, Seaworks will bring more tourists and more jobs to the west.
“Passing this bill will breathe new life into a much-loved part of Melbourne’s maritime heritage.”
Seaworks is Hobsons Bay’s second biggest visitor attraction after Scienceworks, drawing more than 100,000 people each year to its events and to the Sea Shepherd fleet moored at Ann Street pier.
Seaworks Foundation chairman Trevor Huggard said the $3 million would kickstart the redevelopment of the former Melbourne Harbour Trust Workshop – known as the big shed – as part of a bigger precinct plan.
“The funding will enable Seaworks to extend the mezzanine floor in the shed for more exhibition space, toilets and a range of exciting facilities and great tourism drawcards to benefit the community,” he said.
Hobsons Bay deputy mayor Sandra Wilson said the council looked forward to working with stakeholders to develop Seaworks.
“No doubt, enhancements to the maritime heritage and events features of Seaworks will add significantly to the area’s many existing offerings and will bring even more people into Hobsons Bay which will be great for our local businesses” she said.
Mr Noonan said a new port lease would also hand the council planning control of Greenwich Bay at Newport, which currently fell under the Port of Melbourne planning scheme.
He said this meant the entire Williamstown waterfront would be under the council’s control, except for Ann Street pier and a security zone between Gellibrand and Breakwater piers.
Treasurer Tim Pallas rejected reports that a new container island would be built south of Webb Dock, which Strand residents feared would obstruct their city views.