The Victorian Government has introduced draft legislation to protect the Great Ocean Road and reform management of the coast and parks.
Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lilly D’Ambrosio introduced the Great Ocean Road and Environs Protection Bill 2021 into the Parliament − the second of two bills to implement reforms in the Great Ocean Road Action Plan.
Under the Bill, the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority, established last year, would be the dedicated parks manager for coastal Crown land from Torquay to Warrnambool − with similar functions, powers and obligations as Parks Victoria.
The small area of National Parks transferred to the Authority along the road will continue to be managed under the National Parks Act in partnership with Parks Victoria, with no change to their status or obligation to be managed as an area designated for conservation.
The Victorian Government has provided more than $28 million to deliver the reforms, including $19 million for the Authority to deliver upgrades to tourism infrastructure.
Before the reforms, management arrangements were fragmented with no over-arching plan or single authority covering the entire length of the road.
Improving infrastructure and providing greater environmental protections along the Great Ocean Road and its hinterland is part of G21’s Great Ocean Road Priority Project.