Kangaroo Point Dockside Marina Restaurant Lodges Court Action Versus the State

The Prawnster Dockside Marina
Photo Credit: The Prawnster/Facebook

The Prawnster, a Dockside Marina restaurant in Kangaroo Point, has launched a legal battle to save the business from eviction. Owner Martin Brennan acknowledges his uphill challenge as a David against Goliath. 

The lawsuit against the State Government marks the latest development in a protracted saga that spans over three years. The Prawnster‘s two boats have remained the sole commercial operators at Dockside Marina, despite being instructed to vacate the premises this May 2023. 

The eviction notice came after marina lessee Ken Allsop lost his final bid to alter lease conditions.

Mr Brennan questions why his establishment cannot be relocated to the State Government’s pontoons outside the cultural centre in South Bank. He points out that two other commercial cruise boats made the move at the start of the pandemic and have been successfully operating there ever since.


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The Prawnster Dockside Marina
Photo Credit: The Prawnster/Facebook

Frustrated by the lack of options, he has taken the matter to the Supreme Court, fully aware of the substantial costs involved. He believes that Mr Allsop’s application to amend the seabed lease conditions would have likely been approved had he not expanded his operations at Dockside.

He claims that the expansion to two boats has had minimal impact on the residents of Dockside apartments. Admittedly, The Prawnster faced regular visits from the water police following a complaint about incorrect boat mooring. Additionally, the establishment endured multiple inspections and other complaints. 

Mr Brennan, however, said his operation has never been an issue for the government.  With a dozen employees and glowing reviews on TripAdvisor, The Prawnster is a well-regarded establishment.

Meanwhile, Mr Allsop has been engaged in a separate battle, trying to appeal the Department of Resources’ directive to remove commercial operators from the marina. The Department insists that the facility was intended solely for recreational boat users.

The Department of Resources spokesperson acknowledges the value of tourism operators on the Brisbane River but emphasizes that lessees must adhere to the conditions of their leases. While the government recognises the need for alternative mooring options, it remains committed to ensuring compliance with the lease conditions.

The expansion of commercial operators in recent years, including jetski and electric boat rentals, prompted complaints from residents of nearby Dockside unit towers. The grievances include noise disturbances from customers, odours emanating from rubbish, and alleged safety concerns due to golf buggies transporting supplies across a public boardwalk.

In February of last year, the Department of Resources ordered all businesses to vacate the marina by April, leading to threats of a floating blockade. However, a moratorium was offered after the marina suffered severe damage during the 2022 floods. 

The Prawnster Dockside Marina
Photo Credit: The Prawnster/Facebook

Despite Mr Allsop’s request for an internal review of the eviction notice, the Department upheld its decision in June, issuing a final notice to vacate earlier this year. Unfortunately for the affected businesses, the promised CBD marina, which was expected to provide a new home for them, will not be constructed. 

As a result, The Prawnster and other businesses are left without viable options, placing their livelihoods in jeopardy. While some operators, such as Brisvegas and Jetski Brisbane, have managed to secure temporary alternatives, the increased costs and inconveniences associated with the new locations pose significant challenges.

Published 24-May-2023