Princes Pier restoration set for public opening
Minister for Major Projects Denis Napthine has announced the Princes Pier at Port Melbourne will be re-opened to the public on December 12, with restorative works now almost complete.
The restoration project, first announced by then Deputy Premier and Member for Albert Park John Thwaites more than six and a half years ago, was subject to a series of cost and time blowouts under the previous State Labor Government.
Dr Napthine said despite the chequered history of the project, the work undertaken by expert contractors was of an exemplary standard.
The redevelopment of Princes Pier has included:
removal of the existing deck structure
reconstruction of 196 metres of the pier, including repair of defective timber piles to support a new concrete deck
refurbishment of the gatehouse, and
the creation of a forest of piles at the seaward end of the pier as a heritage and sculptural centrepiece.
Dr Napthine congratulated the main contractor Fitzgerald Constructions, the lead architect Lovell Chen and engineering consultants the Robert Bird Group and Norman Disney and Young for their work.
“I would like to pay particular tribute to the subcontractors and their employees for their fine craftsmanship and dedication to the project, including Professional Diving Services (underwater pile repairs), CJ Pearce (electrical works), Trio Plumbing (plumbing works), AG Coombs (mechanical services), RC Davies (main line services extension) and Design Sense (metalwork),” Dr Napthine said.
“Unfortunately, the previous Labor Government completely mismanaged this project.
“When former Deputy Premier Mr Thwaites announced the restoration in 2006, he said the project would cost $14 million and be completed by 2007.
“In 2007 the former Minister for Major Projects Theo Theophanous announced a major delay in the project completion, and the completion date was revised to 2009, but the next former Labor Major Projects Minister Tim Pallas was forced to admit the project had a cost blowout of $20 million and would not be delivered until 2011.
“This brought the total cost of the project to $34 million – a 142 per cent blowout on Labor’s original cost of $14 million – and made it four years behind schedule.
“On top of this, the previous Labor Government committed to this significant project without identifying any ongoing agreements for the sustainable management or use of this pier.
“Taxpayers have been forced to shoulder this burden all because former Labor Minister John Thwaites was more interested in making a quick local funding announcement rather than undertaking adequate due diligence and proper scoping works.
“Taxpayers can be assured that the Victorian Coalition Government has been able to manage this project so that there have been no further cost blowouts. This is another example of the Coalition Government fixing the problems inherited from an incompetent Bracks/Brumby Labor Government.
“Princes Pier will continue to be managed by the Coalition Government and will be available for community events. A final determination of the use of the historic gatehouse will be made in the near future,” Dr Napthine said.