Williamstown - Local Port Area Plan

Project status

September 2023:

  • Community consultation on the draft plan and a proposed waterway rule change is now closed.  We are currently reviewing the feedback and will report back through Engage Victoria.
  • Read the August 2023 Community Update eNews here.
  • Read the September 2023 Community Update eNews here.


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The Williamstown maritime precinct is located in Melbourne’s vibrant west. The area has traditionally been home to a range of recreational, commercial and community boating activities, revealing its strong connection to the sea. Boasting scenic views towards Melbourne’s CBD and positioned near the entrance of one of the busiest commercial ports in Australia, the Port of Melbourne, the area supports a significant volume of maritime traffic and fosters connections to Victorian maritime history with Seaworks maritime museum. 

Parks Victoria is the Committee of Management for a large portion of Hobsons Bay at Williamstown including the foreshore area which is home to many boat and yacht clubs, and marine repair businesses. As the local port manager for Port Philip, Parks Victoria manages a variety of maritime infrastructure assets in the area including the popular and well-used Ferguson Street Pier, Gem Pier, and Williamstown’s swing mooring ground.  

Parks Victoria is also the landlord to the yacht clubs and businesses that adjoin the waterfront, including Seaworks. The site promotes Victoria’s maritime history in Williamstown, is a working port, and Melbourne’s key mooring site for visiting local and international tall ships and other historic vessels. The Seaworks lease includes: Workshops Pier, Commissioner’s Jetty and Boyd Street Pier, and are now approaching end of their lives. To manage public safety, these structurally unsafe assets remain largely closed to the public except for some managed access for authorised berthing permit holders at Workshops Pier.  

Maps showing area of focus for the Williamstown Local Port Area Plan

Image - Two maps showing the focus area for the Williamstown Local Port Area Plan


The Project

The project aims to progress the objectives of the Williamstown Maritime Precinct Framework, developed by the Department of Transport in the context of the Sustainable Local Ports Framework. The local port area plan will improve the function and sustainability of the Williamstown local port area while protecting its values as a regional maritime and boating destination.  

It will focus on the local port waterside infrastructure in the Seaworks site, particularly the future of Workshops Pier, Commissioner’s Jetty and Boyd Street Pier. Gem Pier and Ferguson Street Pier will also be included in the focus site to ensure the function and related access needs for all key users of this local port area are considered. The project will be confined to Parks Victoria’s Committee of Management area. 

This project is part of Parks Victoria’s local ports forward planning, and will include undertaking detailed planning and further stakeholder and community engagement, supported by existing and further studies and investigations. 

The outcome of the process is a future-ready, local port area plan for this priority precinct. The plan will help guide the Victorian Government’s investment priorities and provide a more sustainable approach to meeting economic, tourism and community needs. 

Project timeline

  1. Background research, technical investigations and stakeholder consultation - Mid-late 2022
  2. Prepare the draft Williamstown Local Port Area Plan – Early-mid 2023
  3. Draft local port area plan released and start of community consultation – Spring 2023
  4. Community feedback considered - Late 2023
  5. Final local port area plan prepared and reporting back – Late 2023


 *timelines are a guide only and may be subject to change.

Who we're working with 

This project is funded by the Victorian Government through the Department of Transport and Planning.

Document library


Stay updated 

For regular project updates, please subscribe for Williamstown Local Port Area Plan news.

For general enquiries email engage@parks.vic.gov.au or call us on 13 1963.

Read the March 2023 - Community Update project e-newsletter

Read the August 2023 - Community Update project e-newsletter

Read the September 2023 - Community Update waterway rule change e-newsletter


Related news

Parks Victoria is currently undertaking a local port area planning process for Mornington Harbour, Sorrento and St Leonards in Port Phillip and Rhyll in Western Port. A final plan for Sandringham Harbour was released in late 2022 and being used to guide the rebuild of Hampton Pier.

Parks Victoria is the local port manager for Port Phillip, Western Port and Port Campbell.  The three local ports combined include 263,000 hectares of waterway, marine protected areas, channels, piers and jetties, moorings and aids to navigation.  

Places to visit – Williamstown Piers


Frequently asked questions 

What is happening at Williamstown?

The commencement of a local port area planning project for the local port in Williamstown. This area has long been recognised as an important recreational boating destination with significant maritime heritage on Port Phillip. Commencing the local port area planning process is an important step in ensuring that we have a plan for future investment in this key precinct.


What is a local port area plan?

The Sustainable Local Ports Framework introduces the concept of a local port area plan. The aim of a local port area plan is to address current and future uses and development of the local port. It will be informed by technical investigations and stakeholder consultation.


Why is a local port area plan needed for Williamstown?

Parks Victoria has been working with the key stakeholders for many years on a range of technical issues such as dredging, wave wash and surge, fairways and public asset condition. This local port area plan is the opportunity to bring these technical reports and information together into one plan that aims to consider and balance investment needs for the area against broader priorities within the local port network. It will progress the objectives of the Williamstown Maritime Precinct Framework in the context of the Sustainable Local Ports Framework.


Who is preparing the local port area plan?

Parks Victoria, as the relevant local port manager, is leading these planning projects.  For the Williamstown Local Port Area Plan, a Project Reference Group (PRG) comprising representatives from Parks Victoria, Hobsons Bay City Council, Department of Transport, and Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation will convene to advise on the project. Typically, consultants will be appointed to aid the preparation the draft and final local port area plan and provide any required technical advice.


How are community and stakeholders being consulted?

Stakeholder focus groups held in late 2022 provided early input to inform and help shape the draft local port area plan. The focus groups comprised participants who represented the views and interests of key local stakeholders and user groups of the harbour. The participants worked with Parks Victoria to discuss the current value, issues and future vision of Williamstown’s local port area.  Early input from this group, along with input from the Traditional Owners through the Bunurong Land Council and Aboriginal Corporation, helped inform the draft plan. View the Stakeholder Focus Group key findings report. The wider community is now invited to tell us more during a public consultation process of the draft plan. This feedback will be considered and included in the final plan.


Why are Workshops Pier, Commissioners Jetty and Boyd St Pier all closed?

The piles under Commissioners Jetty and Boyd Street Pier have failed and the deck has now collapsed. A decision on the future of these assets needs to be made, which the local port area planning process will aim to address.

The piles under Workshops Pier have also deteriorated to a point where Parks Victoria has needed to manage access to the pier to ensure public safety. Workshops Pier is currently closed, but Seaworks can facilitate access for permitted berthing holders. The local port area plan will propose options for the future of Workshops Pier.


What is happening with Gem Pier?

Recent budget announcements have included funding for upgrades to the fendering system on Gem Pier, to ensure that it is safe for larger vessels to berth against the pier.

What is the proposed waterway rule change about?  

Parks Victoria has recently consulted on the proposed modification and extension of the 5-knot speed limit of the waters under its control in Williamstown local port area.  This proposed waterway rule change is identified as a key mitigation measure identified in the Williamstown Maritime Precinct Wave Wash Surge Study - Stage 3 Mitigation Options Assessment. Learn more about the rule change and process via the Engage Victoria. The survey is now closed and we are currently reviewing feedback to aid in the preparation of an application to the Safety Director for decision.

How can I participate?

Consultation opportunities through formal surveys have now closed.  However, you can email the Project Team at any time with feedback via engage@parks.vic.gov.au.   You can also subscribe to be kept informed about project news.


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