Jetty saved after funding boost

The McLoughlins Beach jetty, captured in February 2022. Photo: Stefan Bradley

The historic McLoughlins Beach jetty has been saved following a sustained campaign from local residents.

$1.535 million in funding was allocated by the state government in this week’s budget to rebuild the landmark and preserve it for future use.

Opposition member and Gippsland South MP, Danny O’Brien has welcomed the state government’s commitment, saying he was relieved to see the funds finally secured after years of campaigning.

“The need to rebuild the jetty is an issue that has been dragging on for years, much to the frustration of McLoughlins Beach residents, visitors and fishermen alike,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The jetty is a significant tourism asset and is used by boaties and fishermen accessing Nooramunga and Corner Inlets and Bass Strait.

“Unfortunately, its condition is deteriorating and there were concerns it would eventually be closed.

“I’ve been raising the needs for funds in Parliament and with a succession of ministers for several years now, so I’m delighted to see the project has secured funding.”

The Gippsland Times reported on the jetty’s feared closure in February after the McLoughlins Beach Residents & Ratepayers Association launched a petition to rebuild the local icon.

Secretary Lynn Borgia said that the Association was elated and “very surprised” to hear about the funding announcement.

“We’re just over the moon about it, to be honest,” Ms Borgia said.

Residents of McLoughlins Beach celebrate with Gippsland South MP Danny O’Brien (right).
Photo: Contributed

Those sentiments were echoed by Association president Allan Rogers, who said that members were “thrilled and stunned at the same time” upon hearing the news.

“We thought it was going to be a long-term battle, I suppose, to try and convince the government that the jetty itself was that important,” Mr Rogers explained.

“The whole community and the community at large is so excited and grateful that it’s actually finally happened after many, many years of a full-team effort from many people.”

Mr O’Brien said the McLoughlins Beach community should be proud of the successful fight.

“This has been a long time coming and it wouldn’t have been achieved without the efforts of people such as Lynn Borgia and the team from the Residents and Ratepayers’ Association and many other local residents who’ve been fighting for some time,” he said.

“Credit to to Gippsland Ports and local Wellington Shire Councillor Garry Stephens who has also been on the case.”

In a statement to the Gippsland Times regarding the announcement, Minister for Ports and Frieght, Melissa Horne said: “We know just how important the jetty is to the local community, which is why we are investing significant funding into ensuring it is rebuilt and open for years to come.”

“The Department of Transport will work closely with local port manager, Gippsland Ports and the community on project plans, design timelines and the tender process,” Ms Horne added.

“While planning for the future jetty, public safety is our highest priority and Gippsland Ports will continue to carry out regular inspections to ensure it can remain open.”

Although the Minister could not confirm a completion date, the Gippsland Times understands that the rebuild of the jetty is scheduled to be completed by the end of next year.