Ocean Road overhaul proposed

A single authority could oversee the Great Ocean Road.

The Great Ocean Road Taskforce has recommended appointing a lead agency to help the regional tourist attraction reach its full potential.

Colac Otway Shire mayor Joe McCracken said the taskforce’s proposal for a lead agency to manage the Great Ocean Road was a step in the right direction.

The Great Ocean Road Taskforce worked closely with about 40 relevant organisations and local groups to produce the issues paper, which it released on Wednesday, and Colac and district residents can have their say on the discussion paper’s proposals.

The issues paper proposed the establishment of a lead agency, action to secure funding sources for the plan, and a 20 to 25-year strategy covering the entire length of the Great Ocean Road to make sure the iconic tourist destination reaches its full potential.

Cr McCracken said the council had advocated for a single authority to be in charge of the regional tourist attraction, which would control planning and management of the Great Ocean Road.

“That would control all of the matters that go along the Great Ocean road, so planning, rubbish collection and cleaning of the toilets; all of those functions which at this point in time aren’t done particularly well,” he said.

Warncoort resident and former Polwarth MP Terry Mulder co-chairs the taskforce with former state minister Peter Batchelor, and with fellow members has investigated critical issues and opportunities for the Great Ocean Road.

The issues paper notes that although more than 14 public agencies have responsibilities in the region, they’re often disconnected from one another and don’t have clearly defined partnerships with Traditional Owners.

The taskforce identified proposals for better co-ordination between key agencies responsible for the road and the tourist destination to work in tandem with a common goal of protecting and growing the Great Ocean Road.

“We need to get the balance right between accessibility and sustainability, amenity and liveability, and the economy and the community,” Mr Mulder said.

“To strike this balance, we need to acknowledge the Great Ocean Road belongs to all Victorians.”

For the full story see today’s Colac Herald.

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