The Great Ocean Road region celebrates a new era, with landmark reforms by the Victorian Government to better protect this iconic area for future generations, while also boosting tourism.
The Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority (GORCAPA) has officially come to life – providing a single, dedicated body to manage the region’s public land, beaches, national parks, tourism operations and accommodation.
The Victorian Budget 2020/21 provided $47.5 million to improve visitor infrastructure and support these management reforms, while boosting jobs across the region. The Authority will receive $18.3 million to deliver upgrades to visitor facilities such as toilets, caravan parks, viewing platforms, trails, beach access and car parking.
G21 has the Great Ocean Road as one of its 12 Priority Projects, and has successfully lobbied for ongoing maintenance funding from both the state and federal governments for the Great Ocean Road, resulting in major upgrade works that are continuing along the road.
G21 has also sought better co-ordinated management of all aspects of the Great Ocean Road and welcomes the formation of the GORCAPA.
The Government will also deliver construction of the first three sections of a new $23.8 million coastal walking trail from Fairhaven to Grey River, featuring five swing suspension bridges, that will attract an additional 50,000 people to the region in its first five years, and an extra $47 million in visitor expenditure.
This is especially welcome as it delivers against a key plank of G21’s Adventure Trails Project.
The Budget provides $3.4 million for management reforms including development of a strategic framework plan for future use, protection and development of land across the broader region and support for Traditional Owners to develop opportunities to share economic benefits within the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks.
The new Authority will deliver a more coordinated and sustainable approach to planning and tourism, replacing previous land management arrangements that are complex, disjointed and involve multiple land managers.
A new independent Board and Chair have been appointed, including a nominee of each recognised Traditional Owner group in the region. The Authority will engage with the community as plans for the region are developed.
Becoming the largest provider of visitor accommodation in the region, the Authority will also more effectively manage nature-based tourist sites and caravan parks to improve the tourist experience.