Shipyard sale query

A navy ship in Williamstown shipyard. (Ljubica Vrankovic) 417013_01

A Hobsons Bay councillor has questioned whether could buy Williamstown’s shipyard.

The shipyard is up for sale eight years after the last vessel descended the slipway, marking the end of shipbuilding at the nearly 17-hectare site.

The vacant yard has a potential price tag of up to $200 million.

Positioned between the Williamstown Marina and the Mobil refinery’s fuel tanks, the shipyard is approximately three kilometres from the Port of Melbourne, the nation’s largest container port.

Historically significant, the site was the original location of the Victorian Navy before the Federation in 1901.

Shipbuilding commenced there in 1913 and was taken over by the Commonwealth during World War I.

British military hardware and technology giant BAE Systems has owned the yard since 2008.

During council’s June 25 meeting, Cr Antoinette Briffa inquired whether the council plans to secure the land for public use, including exploring options for compulsory acquisition by the state government.

Cr Briffa also inquired about the requirements for including Williamstown’s shipyard site in a public acquisition overlay.

Sustainable communities director Rachel Lunn said the council is aware of the sale but has not made any decisions regarding the acquisition.

Ms Lunn said that if the council were to consider buying the shipyard, it would not be a decision it could make alone.

BAE Systems Australia was contacted for comment, with a spokesperson saying said, “BAE Systems Australia is selling the eastern portion of the Williamstown site while retaining the western portion for ongoing business use”.

Anne Parisianne