In October 2018, the Victorian Government unveiled a landmark Action Plan to protect the iconic Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks for generations to come.
The Action Plan includes a number of actions to establish an independent statutory authority. Specifically, action 4 is to establish an independent statutory authority to manage the coastal Crown land and marine waters along the Great Ocean Road and action 5 is to establish structures to allow for the ongoing involvement of local communities in the protection and visitation management of the Great Ocean Road region. Action 7 is to establish sustainable funding arrangements for the authority.
To support the implementation of these actions, the Taskforce would like to hear how you would like your community to be involved with the new Authority in the future, and to get your views on possible funding options to support the Authority’s operations. They are holding community sessions at a number of towns along the Road. Last Saturday a large number of Lorne residents attended the session at Lorne Community House. In addition to asking attendees to provide feedback on community involvement and funding options, the session also provided an opportunity for an update on progress of the implementation of the Action Plan.
The following is a summary of the update provided by Paul Jane, Project Manager, Great Ocean Road Management Reform:
What’s been happening?
- Legislation is being drafted to create the Authority
- Workforce transition planning is underway and organisational design
- Asset analysis undertaken
- Visitor infrastructure assessment
- Landscape significance assessment
- Strategic framework plan scoping underway
- Accommodation Analysis
- Community input to long term objectives
- Commenced commercial tour operator licence review
- Protect the ecological and landscape integrity of coastal and marine environments
- Increase Traditional Owner inclusion
- Protect distinctive areas and landscapes
- Grow the local, state and national visitation economies
- Modernise governance
- Community engagement
- Long term funding security
The Authority will do more
- It will need more $$$ to operate
- It will do more than current managers
- It needs to invest in infrastructure
- It needs to invest in the environment
- It needs to improve the visitor experience
- Existing revenue streams will not be enough – leases, licences, caravan parks and camping fees
What have we heard?
- Significant Change is needed
- Nature and the environment are the most valued items and should be protected
- Communities are unique and distinct
- Management of traffic and tourism needs to change including road safety
- Create a single management body
- Get the Governance arrangement right
The questions then posed to the attendees for feedback were:
Community Involvement – How do you want to interact with the Authority?
- One community reference group with representation drawn from each township
- Three community reference groups drawing in east, west and central
- No formal committees with the Authority working within existing structures
- A nominated township community group that works with the Authority
- No formal structure and engagement on key strategic initiatives
Funding Options Explored
- Parking fees
- Vehicle infrastructure pass (VIP)
- Tourism operator licenses and fees
- Commercial opportunities
You can have your say by visiting their website and completing a short survey. The address for the website is – https://engage.vic.gov.au/great-ocean-road
This is a very important time in determining the future of the management and maintenance of the Great Ocean Road. Please take the time to register your thoughts.
Committee for Lorne