The Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) is disappointed with an independent panel’s decision to abandon important tourism projects planned for the Great Ocean Road. These projects would have created jobs and been a positive development for the local tourism industry.
While the panel endorsed the majority of projects, the decision to abandon four coastal projects was a step backwards.
The Corangamite Shire’s original study into tourism opportunities along the Great Ocean Road and the subsequent planning scheme amendment is a sensible and strategic approach by a council seeking to increase the social and economic dividends from tourism in its region.
About 2.6 million people visit the region each year and its iconic natural attractions, such as the Twelve Apostles, but only 18 per cent of these visitors stay overnight in the region.
The study’s recommendations would allow appropriate, sensitive and sustainable tourism development along the coast, which in turn would create jobs, create local economic benefits, improve the welfare of Victorian regional towns and help tell stories to engage visitors.
The abandoned projects would have all been situated on private land. They would not encroach on public land.
The panel’s decision makes Victoria less competitive and less likely to attract potential high-quality investment. Key tourism regions such as the Great Ocean Road ought to seize important tourism opportunities and attract investment, matched to market demand.
We urge the State Government, in particular the Planning Minister, to review the panel’s decision to abandon these coastal projects.