THE Colac Otway Shire has hailed the proposal by the state Opposition for a single Great Ocean Road Authority, while Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism (GORRT) agrees there is a need for a new approach.
The Great Ocean Road itself and the surrounding land is presently managed by 13 different agencies, and debate about how this should change has been going on for some time.
During his visit to Bellbrae last week, Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said an elected Liberal-National government would create a Great Ocean Road Authority to manage all of the Crown land along the road.
Colac Otway mayor Joe McCracken said the formation of a single Great Ocean Road Authority had been the shire’s Council Plan for two years, so Mr Guy’s announcement was “music to our ears”.
“This issue was a key recommendation in our recent submission to the state government’s Great Ocean Road Region Issues Paper and the pressure is certainly mounting on the Andrews Government to offer bipartisan support.
“Too many agencies have responsibilities in the Great Ocean Road region, which is contributing to significant duplication of resources and a lack of co-ordination and planning that is not only holding appropriate tourism development back but frustrating communities who call the region home.”
He said amenities along the Great Ocean Road were inadequate and there was no forum for local communities to express their views about the impact of visitation on their lives.
GORRT chair Wayne Kayler-Thomson said his group supported the need for a new approach to the governance and integrated strategic planning for the region, noting that GORRT’s interest was in developing the visitor economy for the whole region of which the Great Ocean Road is a significant asset.
“Managing demand and growing the return from the visitor economy by increasing, length of stay, expenditure and dispersal through the whole region is paramount to ensuring the community benefit from the visitor economy is maximised.”