These jetties, which together form an integral part of the Warneet community, have been badly neglected by the Andrews government for more than a decade.
Both jetties were closed without warning on 4 June 2020.
While various Parks Victoria representatives have claimed that a regular and rigorous inspection regime has been in place, the actual inspection history of these two jetties tells a different story. In fact the last time the Warneet jetties were inspected, and maintenance planned, was the Hyder report of 2011, during the Liberal-National government years!
Not only do these jetties serve as home to five local fishing and boating groups, they literally form the foundation of a bayside community that uses them for fishing, boating, swimming, jumping, walking and relaxing. Ask any Warneet local and they will tell you stories about their jetties and why they are so important to their community.
The Warneet jetties are almost as old as the township itself, having been built in 1953. They play a big role in the everyday lives of Warneet locals and an even bigger role in their history.
Crucially, when bushfires threaten this one-road-in, one-road-out community, boats play an important role in the escape plans of many locals. Maintaining access to boats via the jetties is a lifesaving necessity.
The Warneet north jetty was built by the residents of Warneet and then taken over by the Department of Public Works. The north jetty was rebuilt in 1980 and the south was rebuilt in 1966.
Parks Victoria took control of the jetties in 1993, and since that date no significant maintenance work has been carried out.
The City of Casey has some of the highest concentrations of boat users in the state with over 8000 registered vessels, yet these two critically important jetties at Warneet have been out of action for more than a year.
I first raised this issue with the Minister for Fishing and Boating on 3 August 2020. It has now been over a year and there has been nothing to suggest that either Parks Victoria or this state government intend to do anything other than let these two historic jetties rot.
Towards the end of last year I tabled a petition with 860 signatures, made a members statement and asked a constituency question on this issue. It has now been 467 days since Parks Victoria closed these jetties.
The rotting foundations of the Warneet jetties are an unfortunate but apt metaphor for this failing government and its departments.
The mismanagement of the Warneet jetties is unfortunately not the only example of Parks Victoria failing the local Western Port boating community. Similar neglect of the upkeep of jetties is apparent just 25 minutes away at the Flinders pier. Parks Victoria was aware that the Flinders pier was in need of urgent repair and yet allowed that important structure to also deteriorate to the point of demolition.
I call on the Minister for Fishing and Boating to take immediate action to reinstate the Warneet jetties as the safe, functional and critically important community assets they once were and must be again.