The Great Ocean Road region begins a new era today, as a part of landmark reforms by the Andrews Labor Government, which will better protect this iconic area for future generations, while also boosting tourism.
The Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority (GORCAPA) has today 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.
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.
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.
As stated by Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio
“This is an exciting day for the Great Ocean Road region. This will protect the beaches and environment, it will bring more visitors to Victoria, and deliver benefits for local communities.”
As stated by Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula
“The Great Ocean Road region is one of Victoria’s most cherished tourist destinations. This will protect its businesses, its beaches and its future.”
As stated by Member for South Barwon, Darren Cheeseman
“With its headquarters in Torquay, the new Authority is a win for the entire region, supporting local jobs and investment along the Great Ocean Road. These reforms will protect our iconic beaches for future generations.”
As stated by Member for Western Victoria, Gayle Tierney
“The Great Ocean Road is an international tourist drawcard with more visitors each year than Uluru and the Barrier Reef combined. The Authority will ensure these natural assets are protected for future generations.”