Why was the “Bellarine Ferry Group” formed?

Early in 2007 under it’s Community Building Initiative program (CBI) the Victorian Government’s Department of Community Planning and Development set up a CBI in Portarlington.

A public meeting was held in March 2007 where 155 community related initiatives were identified. The top five initiatives were agreed upon for action with the number one community requirement (by a large margin), being a ferry service between the Bellarine Peninsula and Melbourne.

Given that:

1.     the Government had indicated that Portarlington had been selected as the location on the BellarinePeninsula for a new Safe Harbour,

2.     that Portarlington was the closest point on the Bellarine to Melbourne,

it was clearly logical to run the required Bellarine ferry service between Portarlington and Melbourne.

A group was formed to achieve this community need and it was named the Bellarine Ferry Group.

 What has the progress been to date?

The first aim of the group was to ensure that the plans for the new $20-$30million Portarlington Safe Harbour included all necessary support structures such as docking/mooring, ticketing, refueling etc to enable a daily ferry service to operate between Portarlington and Melbourne.

In early September 2008 the draft Safe Harbour Plans were opened for public comment and the Bellarine Ferry Group prepared and submitted detailed comment and suggestion. 

In March 2009 the revised plans were released and did contain provision for berthing and mooring of two 300 capacity ferries plus the necessary support structures. 

The plans were then forwarded to the Victorian Government for approval.

In June 2009 the Bellarine Ferry Group was instrumental in securing government funding for extensive surveying into potential user needs and viability of the ferry service. This is being undertaken over a two month period. 

During August 2009 the Bellarine Ferry Group is conducting a number of information sessions throughout the Bellarine Peninsula.

The final decision was released in October 2009 with the release of the Safe Harbour Master Plan which includes the provision of two ferry berths. For fuller details see the updates page.

What Next?

In August 2009 there were an additional number of reviews and feasibilty studies being undertaken by government departments into potential ferry operations on Port Philip Bay. 

The Bellarine Ferry Group  participated in these studies with the aim of seeing a regular ferry service out of Portarlington as soon as possible.

As of August 2010 we are waiting until the Federal Elections are out of the way so we can launch a number of actions to make the most of the upcoming Victorian State Elections which are scheduled for late November.

The 2010 elections saw a change in government with no commitment to funding for the Safe Harbour Development.

As of August 2011 discussions and actions continue to progress the case for the Safe Harbour. See the updates page for details.





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