Brisbane’s Rivergate Marina secures approval for $200m superyacht expansion

Brisbane could welcome dozens of more luxury superyachts annually, becoming a major industry hub in the Asia Pacific after Brisbane City Council recently approved Rivergate Marina’s $200 million superyacht expansion plan.

The multi-million-dollar project will see Rivergate’s existing marina expand into the largest superyacht hub in the region, able to accommodate up to 60 superyachts per year for maintenance and retrofitting.

Rivergate Marina director Tom Hill said the flow-on effects of attracting more superyachts to Queensland would have big impacts on the local tourism economy.

The marina has been operating since 2006 but anticipates its expansion plans — mostly funded by the company but with hopes of government contributions — will significantly boost its ability to service luxury yachts.

A $31 million ship lift that can move 90-metre-long yachts of up to 3,000 tons in weight is a key feature of the 27,878m² development, which will be staged over two sections.

“Whilst the boat will be up on a hardstand, or in a purpose-built refit shed, the crew and the captain and the owner will be able to stay at our trade centre, a five-storey building on-site with amenities…a pool, a bar.”

Mr Hill said the massive ship lift would also offer some defense capability, allowing the company to work on all of Australia’s frigates.

The project will be constructed in two stages, with the second stage a five-storey trade building with offices, training rooms and 14 short-term crew accommodation units.

Economic benefits

At Tuesday’s city planning committee meeting, councillors were given details of the development application made by Rivergate Marina and its potential economic impact on the city.

The proposed five-storey trade building will house training rooms, offices and a cafe.(Supplied)

Three 35-metre-tall sheds will be built to house superyachts undergoing retrofitting, while hardstand capacity for 10 vessels and two water service berths will also be constructed.

The project is anticipated to host 433 jobs during construction, putting $154.6 million into local business, and host 1,458 jobs post-construction, with $525 million injected into the local tourism economy.

City planning committee chair Adam Allan said the “multifaceted” development would “put Brisbane on the map” in the superyacht industry.

In April last year, industry body Superyacht Australia reported Australia’s domestic superyacht industry had doubled in size during the pandemic, with border closures prompting a spike in charters and holidays aboard the luxury vessels.

A superyacht moored at a marina with mountains in the background.
Superyachts are a booming industry in Australia, and Queensland is keen to expand its market share.(ABC News: Jemima Burt)

Superyacht focus

Superyachts have been a target market for Queensland for several years with the state government releasing a five-year superyacht strategy in 2018, aiming to become the key superyacht hub in the Asia Pacific.

The superyacht industry was predicted to contribute more than $1.1 billion to the gross state product, with nearly 8,000 full-time-equivalent jobs in south-east Queensland by 2021.

On the Gold Coast, a $9 million superyacht berth was opened in February at the Southport Yacht Club, backed by the state government, described by Mayor Tom Tate as a “red-carpet moment” for the city.

A superyacht mooring trail announced by the state government for the Brisbane River, which could have conflicted with the Kangaroo Point Green Bridge, was put on hold during the pandemic.

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