The first of three new floating concrete pontoons to be built for the Howard Smith Wharves River Terminal Project has been completed and is open for business.
Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the Palaszczuk Government was delivering infrastructure to re-energize the Brisbane River with better access for water-based tours.
“For the first time in decades, the new pontoon links Howard Smith Wharves under the Story Bridge with direct access to the Brisbane River for commercial tour operators and private vessels up to 24-metres.
“With Howard Smith Wharves now home to a popular dining and entertainment precinct, the pontoon delivers a new, convenient pick up and drop off point for wharf customers.
“This offers a new, world-class visitor experience in Brisbane – the River City.
“The pontoon is already in use with ‘River to Bay’ adding Howard Smith Wharves to its day and night guided brewery tours along the Brisbane River.
“We’re expecting the River Terminal Project to hit its full potential once the Federal Government is able to reopen the international border.
“Up to 360,000 visitors every year are predicted to use the River Terminal Project, supporting local jobs and contributing $13 million to Brisbane’s economic recovery, which is already underway.”
The Palaszczuk Government’s Attracting Tourism Fund has invested $5.5 million in the River Terminal Project’s three new concrete pontoons to support seven construction and 23 operational jobs.
Member for McConnel Grace Grace said the River Terminal Project was a feather in the cap for Brisbane tourism.
“Howard Smith Wharves has been a game-changer for Brisbane and this new pontoon will make it an even better experience for the public,” Ms Grace said.
“It’ll be far easier to get from the Port of Brisbane to the CBD and from Howard Smith Wharves out to the Moreton Bay islands.
“The pontoon we’re opening today is not only a big boost for our economy but it’s also beneficial for McConnel locals and visitors – it’s a win for everyone.”
Mr Hinchliffe said the Palaszczuk Government’s Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund had also provided almost $1.5 million to assist ‘River to Bay’ to build four high-speed ocean-going tour boats.
“Two boats are already in the water with the other pair expected to be ready in coming weeks,” he said.
“Ultimately, we see Howard Smith Wharves and the ‘River to Bay’ boats becoming the backbone of new tours to the Moreton Bay islands offering sightseeing, snorkelling and cultural experiences.
“It’s part of the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to help tourism in Queensland not only to rebuild after the pandemic but rebuild better.”
Howard Smith Wharves chief executive Luke Fraser said there had never been a more important time to invest in tourism.
“Now is the time to create new tourism product and jobs,” Mr Fraser said.
“Howard Smith Wharves is excited to be working with the Queensland Government and local tourism operators to unlock the Brisbane River and Moreton Bay.
“Our first pontoon is now complete, and Felons Brewery is looking forward to welcoming visitors by boat to enjoy an icy cold Crisp Lager on the banks of the Brisbane River.”
River to Bay co-founder John Sharpe said the river was a great way to explore the city.
“We believe the best way to discover Brisbane and its unique tourism, culture and dining experiences is via the majestic Brisbane River, direct to our iconic precincts and our pristine Moreton Bay and Islands,” Mr Sharpe said.
“Locals are loving Brisbane River Brewery Tours and are excited to bring back our ‘best of Moreton Bay Adventure’ and high-speed experience to Saint Helena, Dunwich, North Stradbroke (Minjerribah) and the Tangalooma Wrecks at Moreton Island (Mulgulpin).
“This perfect adventure day out on the Bay creates wonderful memories, experiences with koalas, wallabies and up-close adventures with an assortment of marine animals in the wild.”
The second and third pontoons are planned for completion in 2024.