Coalition wants single body to manage Great Ocean Road

Liberal-Nationals politicians, from left, Roma Britnell, Nick Wakeling, Richard Riordan and Matthew Guy announce their policy to manage the Great Ocean Road. BELOW: Matthew Guy takes a selfie at the Twelve Apostles.

One authority will manage the Great Ocean Road if the Liberal-Nationals win government at November’s state election, prompting a call for bipartisan support for the commitment.

Liberal leader Matthew Guy and Opposition environment spokesperson Nick Wakeling met with Polwarth MP Richard Riordan at the Twelve Apostles yesterday to make the pre-election promise to create a Great Ocean Road Authority.

The Liberal-Nationals’ proposed authority would manage designated Crown Land along the iconic road, taking over from councils, coastal committees and State Government agencies which currently share the management role.

Colac Otway Shire mayor Joe McCracken said he encouraged all sides of politics to support the formation of one authority to manage the major tourist route, which attracts more than five million visitors a year.

“It’s been a longstanding position of Colac Otway Shire Council to have one authority to manage the Great Ocean Road,” Cr McCracken said yesterday.

“It’s important for greater stability to sort out the governance mess; we need an integrated approach not the adhoc approach we have now.

“We need bipartisan support for one authority.”

The Liberal-Nationals committed to ensuring “there is proper management of the area that will bolster the region’s long-term environmental, economic and tourism needs”.

Mr Guy said governments had “a duty to ensure that icons like the Great Ocean Road are looked after and maintained; a Liberal-Nationals government I lead will make sure that happens”.

Mr Riordan said local residents, businesses, and tour operators within the region had been asking for “a more coherent and co-operative approach to management of the area”.

“These reforms deliver the necessary changes to help boost the local economy, protect and create local jobs, and ensure the future of this marvellous environmental asset.”

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