Mayor calls for bipartisan support for single Great Ocean Road Authority
August 1, 2018
Mayor Joe McCracken says years of pressuring the State Government for fairer management of the Great Ocean Road is finally paying off for Colac Otway Shire.
“The formation of a single Great Ocean Road Authority has been in our Council plan for two years and this week’s announcement that the state Liberal/National coalition will do exactly that if they win the election in November is music to our ears,” he said.
“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 coordination and planning that is not only holding appropriate tourism development back but frustrating communities who call the region home.”
Cr McCracken said Member for Polwarth Richard Riordan had championed the cause well and he was confident a single entity would soon be managing the magnificent Great Ocean Road region.
“More than five million visitors come to the Great Ocean Road region each year – contributing to a $1.3 billion tourism industry and eight million people are forecast to visit by 2028,” he said.
“It is so important that we get this right now to improve strategic planning and coordination of the Great Ocean Road.
“At the moment Councils are bearing a whole lot of costs of high visitation and a lot of the profits are enjoyed by organisations outside the region – like tour companies.
“The whole thing needs a complete overhaul and the best and most efficient way to do that is to centralise management to a single entity.”
Cr McCracken 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.
“The proposed Great Ocean Road Authority would manage all the Crown Land, provide stability and deliver an integrated approach that would be far more efficient and cost-effective for everyone,” he said.
“We almost have everyone’s support for a single Great Ocean Road Authority and I urge the ALP to get on board in the interest of the region’s long term future.”