Fishermans Bend site sought for water recycling plant

South East Water is seeking a site in Fishermans Bend’s Employment Precinct. Inset: the area the utility group services.


South East Water is seeking a Fishermans Bend development site for a water recycling facility.

The utility giant this month launched an expressions of interest campaign for blocks between 1.5 and three hectares, from the West Gate Freeway to Yarra River.

Fishermans Bend’s Employment zone is bound by the Bolte Bridge, West Gate, Williamstown Road and Yarra River.

It can settle by September – though the property doesn’t need to be vacant until 2026 at the latest.

SEW has put forward a list of preferences – but added that non-conforming sites would still be considered.

It is represented by DARMS John Darmody.

The requirement

The property must be in the Fishermans Bend Employment Precinct – bound by the Bolte Bridge/Graham Street, West Gate, Williamstown Road and Yarra River.

A rectangle allotment is ideal; better still if there’s more than one crossover.

The site needs to be connected to essential services.

SEW wants freehold control.

Owners can submit an asking price or range but will be unlikely to gouge – the buyer having an evaluation panel to oversee the transaction’s governance.

Submissions are due on May 7.

Settlement could occur four months after that.

Agents representing landowners need to submit a formal authority with any bid.

“Our objective is to ensure the transaction is straightforward and dealings with the vendor are streamlined and uncomplicated,” Mr Darmody said (story continues below).

“We encourage vendors to outline their preferred transaction structure so that we can ensure there is a timely response to all offers received,” he added.

“If there is any uncertainty regarding the suitability…we would encourage the site to be submitted for consideration.

“Ultimately, an unconditional contract of sale with a short or long settlement period depending on the vendor’s needs [could be provided]”.

The facility

Mooted four years ago, the above ground facility would be the biggest of its type in Australia.

Requiring the connection of a third pipe to every local home and business – the plant would collect and convert wastewater into Class A recycled product for use in gardens and toilets.

Stormwater tanks could also be installed at buildings.

The project is backed by the state government, which coincidentally owns a 32ha parcel in the zone – the ex-General Motors Holden factory – which it bought for $130 million in 2016.

The majority of the 230ha Employment Precinct is privately held though.

Fishermans Bend, spreading 480ha, was gazetted for urban renewal nine years ago.

By 2050, it is expected to accommodate about 60,000 workers.

Four precincts east and south of the freeway – Lorimer, Montague, Sandridge and Wirraway – are earmarked for residential development, potentially housing up to 80,000 people by that time.

SEW presently collects more than 117 billion litres of wastewater a year via Melbourne Water’s Eastern and Western treatment plants, and another complex, at Mt Martha, amongst others.

It delivers c134b to 1.87 million clients.

The group owns, operates and maintains assets worth $4.7b, including 26,300 kilometres of pipes.

A water recycling plant at the MCG and an impression of what’s beneath it.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of