Once the life of the party...
...Now permanently closed
Development Victoria begin repair works on Central Pier.
KBR Engineers begin inspecting Central Pier every two months.
The last inspection by KBR Engineers takes place, no concerns regarding the condition of Central Pier are raised.
22 August 2019
The day before the evacuation representatives of Development Victoria and Knight Frank (body corporate) met with tenants. There was no reference to any issues, nor were any concerns regarding structural integrity raised.
28 August 2019
Without any prior notice or warning, Development Victoria advised the tenants that the pier needed to be vacated immediately and closed for a four-week period, due to structural safety concerns.
The tenants are provided with a one-page letter to justify the decision, Development Victoria refuses to provide the tenants with a proper condition report for Central Pier.
24 September 2019
Development Victoria informed the tenants that the pier will remain closed until at least 6 January 2020 while further structural inspections (but no actual works) take place. Channel 7 reports that the site could be demolished and sold to developers.
7 October 2019
The tenants of Central Pier launched legal action in the Federal Court against Development Victoria. The tenants allege that Development Victoria is responsible for maintaining Central Pier and that it has clearly neglected to do this.
25 November 2019
Sub tenant, Atlantic Group, stands down 22 full-time employees whilst dozens resign due to the uncertainty and lack of clarity surrounding the future of Central Pier. Hundreds of casual staff are left without work during the busy Christmas period.
28 December 2019
Central Pier sits closed for 4 months. Derelict and void of any activity the once thriving, central hub of entertainment and hospitality will remain fenced off and covered in graffiti as City of Melbourne prepares to welcome tens of thousands of visitors to the official NYE celebrations along Harbour Esplanade.
3 January 2020
Development Victoria announce the pier is to remain permanently closed after it was revealed that it would take several years and tens of millions of dollars to rebuild the structure. The assessment by Development Victoria found that, despite previous repairs and regular inspections, the rate of deterioration to the piles that support the pier was accelerating due to rot, marine borer and termite attacks.
Development Victoria announce plans to demolish and rebuild the historic Central Pier, with no detail available as to when this might happen and how the pier will contribute to the Docklands precinct going forward.
9 January 2020
Development Victoria’s Group Head of Precincts Geoff Ward is interviewed on 3AW. Despite repeated requests, Mr Ward is unable to explain how the previous inspections failed to detect any issues with Central Pier prior to the emergency evacuation.
15th Jan to December 2020
Negotiations with Development Victoria continue to progress at a slow pace. The majority of staff are stood down, due to the devastating impacts of the closure, while some businesses are permanently closed.
17th October 2020
Legal action is launched in the Federal Court of Australia by the tenants of Central Pier against Development Victoria
Fiona Patten MLC (Northern Metropolitan) calls for a parliamentary inquiry into Central Pier.
19 January 2021
Documents obtained by The Age from Federal Court proceedings show Development Victoria knew 10 months before the shutdown on August 28, 2019, that the pier risked "catastrophic failure", but delayed acting in an apparent attempt to avoid spending tens of millions of dollars on repairs and compensation payments to businesses.
Development Victoria have refused to properly support or engage with the tenants throughout this process. It refuses to provide the engineering report justifying the closure or allow independent engineers on site. Tenants and staff have learnt more through the media than from Development Victoria.
Development Victoria have offered just $1 million in support to the tenants and staff, refusing to increase this amount despite the extended closure. It costs the tenants on Central Pier close to $2 million a month just to cover costs. Development Victoria continues to tell the media that it is supporting the businesses and staff but cannot point to what it is doing.
The closure of Central Pier has had a devastating impact on the 1300 employees and 8 businesses operating on the pier – for many people this has been life changing.
Staff are desperate for answers and under considerable stress, they’re worried about how they will pay their bills and cover their mortgages, some have already been evicted – they just want a straight answer from Development Victoria.
There is also the knock-on effect of this decision. The cleaners, the musicians and entertainers, the security guards who all relied on Central Pier for the livelihoods are now without a significant portion of their income.
The longer this goes on, the harder it will be for all Central Pier businesses and their staff to return.
Development Victoria asked the tenants on Central Pier to transform this heritage listed site, leading to up to $50 million of new investment into Central Pier. This investment was made on the understanding that Development Victoria, as landlord, accepted its legal obligation to monitor and maintain Central Pier.
We are heading into the busiest event season of the year, Melbourne is on the world stage and our waterfront is out of action.
The Docklands Chamber of Commerce reports that businesses in the Docklands are seeing a downturn due to the closure, the pier attracted millions of people each year to the precinct and it was the key attraction outside of the AFL season.
According to Development Victoria’s own website, Docklands sustains an estimated 2,500-3000 jobs annually, 1300 of these jobs are on Central Pier.
Major cities around the world restore and maintain their piers and wharves but today very few of Melbourne’s remain. Now, due to Development Victoria’s inability to manage Central Pier, this historic 100 year old site may be lost forever.