Flinders Island safe harbour plans progress

The infrastructure at Lady Barron Island.
The infrastructure at Lady Barron Island.

A plan to build a $4.8 million safe harbour at Flinders Island is gaining momentum with the council ready to take the next step in the project.

At the Flinders Island Council meeting last week councillors endorsed an officer’s recommendation to build a new sheltered harbour at the Lady Barron slipway.

The report noted “a major safety issue for boats traversing” the area due to a lack of a safe harbour between mainland Australia and Tasmania. 

A safe harbour would include a rock breakwater, boat ramp and floating pontoon jetty, floating marina berths and temporary berthing for visitor vessels.

With financial assistance from the state government, the council commissioned Burbury Consulting to conduct an independent review of the work.

The cost benefit analysis identified:

  • The proposed development is likely to be a highly attractive public sector investment for Flinders Island
  • It will ensure the increased appeal and sustainability of Flinders Island as an attractive boating destination, often luxury motorised oceangoing vessels and yachting
  • It will be a major economic development incentive for the local economy
  • There are no perceived technical, economic or environmental risks associated with the project
  • The project facilitates the expansion of the Lady Barron Port facility through relocation of the existing boat ramp.

Flinders Island mayor Carol Cox said it would provide a place of refuge for vessels travelling across the Bass Strait and boost the island’s economy.

“It would support economic development on the island – bringing different source of visitors to the island,” she said. 

With the $4.8 million beyond the financial capacity of the council, Cr Cox said it would assess how grants could assist in starting the project.

“We start to put a plan together to search for funding and we start thinking about how far we go to take the next step,” she said.

“We’ll just put in the hard work and see what we can achieve.”

Her optimism was boosted after a visit by federal Liberal Senators David Bushby and Jonathon Duniam last week.

Senator Bushby said the council identified the construction as a “priority project”.

“The Safe Harbour project offers a number of benefits for not only the island’s economy but also for the region’s maritime safety,” he said.

“It certainly has a lot of merit.

“I look forward to working closely with Flinders Council to explore what opportunities may be available to further advance the project in the future.”