PROTECTING OUR ICONIC COAST AND PARKS - Governance of the Great Ocean Road, its land and seascapes - Amazon ...

 
PROTECTING OUR ICONIC COAST AND PARKS - Governance of the Great Ocean Road, its land and seascapes - Amazon ...
PROTECTING OUR
ICONIC COAST
AND PARKS
Governance of the
Great Ocean Road,
its land and seascapes

Independent Co-Chairs Final Report
Great Ocean Road Taskforce

August 2018
PROTECTING OUR ICONIC COAST AND PARKS - Governance of the Great Ocean Road, its land and seascapes - Amazon ...
Dormant
Tower Hill Volcano

                            30    responsible
                                  organisations
8.6m
visitors a year                                         2/3
within ten years                                        journeys are
                                                        day trips                              Nearly   170,000
                                                                                                        hectares
                                                                                                        of Crown land
                                                                    Up to

                     Over
                                                                    12,000 visitors
                                                                    a day to the 12 Apostles

                     200
                     shipwrecks                                                                           5.8m
                                                                                                          visitors spent

                                                                                                                           $1.3b
                                   2cm/yr                                                                                  generating
                                   the rate at which the cliffs
                                   are being eroded

                                                           From 1846, the 12 Apostles
                                                           were once known as                                    limestone
                                                           “The Sow and Piglets”                             7   stacks (out of
                                                                                                                 the original 9),
                                                                                                                 known as the
                                                                                                                 12 Apostles
PROTECTING OUR ICONIC COAST AND PARKS - Governance of the Great Ocean Road, its land and seascapes - Amazon ...
Eastern Maar and                                                                                                      B100
                                                                                                                                 The Great
Wadawurrung                                                                                                                      Ocean Road
People have known                                                                                                                is the world’s
and cared for this                                                                                                               largest war
Country for at least
     Infographic                                 In
                                                      2011                                                                       memorial

35,000                                                Added to the
                                                      National Heritage List
years

                                                                                                                      Rip Curl Pro at Bells
                                                                                                                      Beach is the world’s

2
                                                                                                                      longest running
                                                                                                                      surfing competition

National
Parks
                                                                                    24,000
                                                                                    Number of people in Lorne
                                                                                    during the Pier to Pub (up from
                                                                                    normal population of 1,100)

11,200
jobs                                                                                                      2
in the region in
                                                       1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires destroyed             Marine National
the year ending
                                                                                                          Parks
                                                      42,000                   729
June 2017
                                                                        and

                                                      hectares                 houses
                                                                                                3
                                             2015 Wye River bushfire destroyed                  Marine National
                                                                                                Sanctuaries
                       Rare polar dinosaur
                                             2,260            and    115
                       fossil sites          hectares                houses
PROTECTING OUR ICONIC COAST AND PARKS - Governance of the Great Ocean Road, its land and seascapes - Amazon ...
Traditional Owners   The Great Ocean Road Taskforce proudly acknowledges the
                     Eastern Maar and Wadawurrung People as the traditional
                     custodians of the Great Ocean Road region. We pay our respects
                     to their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. We recognise and
                     respect their unique cultural heritage, beliefs and relationship to
                     their traditional lands, which continue to be important to them
                     today.

                     We recognise the intrinsic connection of the Eastern Maar and
                     Wadawurrung People to their traditional lands and value the
                     contribution their caring for Country makes to the management of
                     the Great Ocean Road region, its land, its waterways, its coastlines,
                     and its seas.

                     We support the need for genuine and lasting partnerships with
                     the Eastern Maar and Wadawurrung People to understand their
                     culture and connections to Country in the way we plan for, and
                     manage, the Great Ocean Road region. By integrating traditional
                     ecological knowledge with contemporary western ecological
                     knowledge, we can deliver better environmental outcomes and
                     make communities more liveable, sustainable and inclusive.

                     We embrace the spirit of reconciliation, working towards equity of
                     outcomes and ensuring an equal voice for Australia’s First People.
PROTECTING OUR ICONIC COAST AND PARKS - Governance of the Great Ocean Road, its land and seascapes - Amazon ...
Left to Right
Corroboree Garden,
Great Ocean Road
Chocolaterie & Ice
Creamery.

Adnate mural,
Warrnambool
Source: City of
Warrnambool

Purpose

This document is the Great Ocean
Road Taskforce Co-Chairs report
to Government proposing reforms
to the management arrangements
of the Great Ocean Road. It has
been developed in consultation with
the Great Ocean Road Taskforce,
a project reference group, key
stakeholders and the community. It is
a direct response to the issues raised
by local communities.
PROTECTING OUR ICONIC COAST AND PARKS - Governance of the Great Ocean Road, its land and seascapes - Amazon ...
Foreword
The Great Ocean Road is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Australia,
attracting more visitors than Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef combined.

It’s easy to see why.                                              The Great Ocean Road, like many international tourist
                                                                   destinations, has been challenged by increased visitor numbers.
The seasons provide an ever-changing sea and landscape for
                                                                   That challenge will intensify in coming years. The Road is also
visitors to marvel at and enjoy.
                                                                   increasingly challenged by the forces of nature – and the
From the bustling seaside resorts and beach lovers’ paradise       impacts of climate change.
in warmer months, to the wild and untamed waters of the
                                                                   We have taken the view that the most important aspect of the
colder months, to the splashes of colour across the bush in the
                                                                   visitor economy is protecting the region’s environmental assets.
wildflower season, there is always something to marvel at and
absorb throughout the year.                                        Environmental protection is the major task, but to do nothing
                                                                   is not an option. We cannot afford to wait and react to each
Sited on the traditional lands of the Eastern Maar and
                                                                   phase in growth of visitors to the region or severe events. Strong
Wadawurrung People, huddled between coastal reserves,
                                                                   leadership and major institutional change is required to protect
national parks, and marine national parks, incorporating
                                                                   the iconic coast and parklands for the benefit and appreciation
significant cultural and heritage locations and farmlands, the
                                                                   of future generations.
Great Ocean Road, together with its seas and landscapes, needs
to be protected and preserved for this generation and future       Land managers and the local communities along the corridor
generations to marvel at and enjoy.                                support the proposed establishment of a new statutory authority.
                                                                   Having a new statutory authority will create a clarity of purpose
The Great Ocean Road belongs to all Victorians. As a
                                                                   and a single point of accountability to lead the protection of
consequence, the residents, visitors and tourists who enjoy the
                                                                   the iconic coast and parklands along the Great Ocean Road –
Great Ocean Road share a responsibility to protect and preserve
                                                                   facilitating the kind of sustainable tourism that provides a great
its iconic landscape. The vast bulk of visitors to the Road come
                                                                   visitor experience.
from across Victoria. These Victorian tourists have a leadership
role to play – demonstrating to visitors from other states and     We commend this report to the Minister for Planning, the Minister
overseas that it is possible to enjoy and protect this precious    for Regional Development, the Minister for Tourism and Major
Country. As Victorians, we need to show the world the true         Events, the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change
meaning of the maxim: “Leave it as you found it.”                  and the Minister for Roads and Road Safety – and to the people
                                                                   of Victoria.
Visitors to the Road need to understand that they are visiting
and travelling along a war memorial. They should reflect on the
courage and determination of the returned soldiers who carved
this world-famous road from rock with just picks and shovels.      Hon Peter Batchelor and Hon Terry Mulder
They also need to understand the need to protect the cultural      Co-Chairs Great Ocean Road Taskforce
values and the local environment.
PROTECTING OUR ICONIC COAST AND PARKS - Governance of the Great Ocean Road, its land and seascapes - Amazon ...
Hon Peter Batchelor and Hon Terry Mulder,
Co-Chairs Great Ocean Road Taskforce
PROTECTING OUR ICONIC COAST AND PARKS - Governance of the Great Ocean Road, its land and seascapes - Amazon ...
Acknowledgement   It has been our privilege to undertake this independent   Thank you to all the members of local communities
                  review of governance arrangements over the past 10        who so generously participated in, and contributed
                  months. We would like to thank the Taskforce members      their time, knowledge and experience. As we travelled
                  for giving their time generously to the review, regular   up and down the Great Ocean Road (the Road), we
                  meetings, range of pertinent inputs, wise advice, and     saw and heard many things that made us appreciate
                  for their openness and willingness to engage as we        the complexity of the governance arrangements,
                  challenged ideas. This was greatly appreciated. Thanks    and the importance of bringing focus and a single
                  to Andrew Mason, Bruce Anson, Corrina Eccles, David       point of accountability to the challenges ahead. We
                  Madden, Diane James AM, Elaine Carbines, Jamie            met many passionate people along the Great Ocean
                  Lowe, Jason Mifsud, Keith Baillie, Paul Davis, Peter      Road who shared their insights and concerns. They
                  Brown, Robert Dobrzynski, Tony McGann and Wayne           have challenged and inspired us. Every conversation
                  Kayler-Thomson.                                           threw up something new for us to contemplate. Thank
                                                                            you also to everyone who provided written feedback
                  Whilst responsibility for this report is taken by us,     to the Governance of the Great Ocean Road Issues
                  as independent Co-Chairs of the Great Ocean Road          Paper. Your feedback created a deep evidence base
                  Taskforce, we have received excellent professional        on which we have drawn in the formation of our
                  advice and assistance from a range of people and          recommendations.
                  organisations which has been most helpful and taken
                  on board.                                                 Thank you to the Regional Directors of Barwon South
                                                                            West (Department of Environment, Land Water and
                  Thank you to the Mayors and Councillors who provided      Planning, and Regional Development Victoria) for their
                  great local knowledge and illustrations of the key        support and guidance. Thanks also to the Secretariat
                  issues. We appreciated the frankness of your advice       Team for their expertise, professionalism and hard
                  and openness in sharing your experiences.                 work as we navigated our complex task, and to those
                  To the officers of the responsible public entities who    who provided expert support.
                  generously sought answers to our enquiries and            Finally, we would like to thank the Victorian
                  provided briefings, to the reference group members        Government for the opportunity to undertake this
                  and workshop participants, we say thank you.              work. Whilst a complex and at times challenging task,
                  Particular thanks go to the CEOs and Board members        we have found it rewarding.
                  of Parks Victoria, Great Ocean Road Coast Committee
                  and Otway Coast Committee for the frank and               The Great Ocean Road Region is truly an important
                  forward-looking conversations about the challenges        Victorian asset belonging to all the people of Victoria. It
                  and opportunities ahead.                                  is, “Our Great Ocean Road” and needs to be looked after
                                                                            for the enjoyment of all.
PROTECTING OUR ICONIC COAST AND PARKS - Governance of the Great Ocean Road, its land and seascapes - Amazon ...
Contents
List of recommendations                                         8   Crown land management is fragmented                                  Portfolio based government investments                      46
1. Introduction                                                12   and inefficient                                                 31     Lack of strategic regional infrastructure planning        46
                                                                     Crown land management along the Great Ocean Road                      No centralised knowledge management                       47
Background to the review                                       12
                                                                     is highly fragmented                                           31     Inefficient government investment delivery                47
Regional advocacy for change                                   14    Inadequate attention to, and investment in, protecting                Significant joint State and Commonwealth projects ahead   47
Great Ocean Road Taskforce                                     15    coastal assets (natural and built)                             34
                                                                                                                                           The Great Ocean Road competes with projects across
                                                                     The environmental condition of coastal and marine
Review process                                                 16                                                                          the state for funding                                     47
                                                                     environments needs monitoring                                  36
2. Community engagement                                        20                                                                        The critical gap – an absence of overarching
                                                                     There are conflicts and tensions associated with
Who we heard from                                              20    coastal consent permit processes                               36   coordinative management                                     48

What we heard                                                  22    There are considerable inefficiencies and a red-tape                4. Real risks                                               52
                                                                     burden in public land administration                           36
  Major change is required – doing nothing is not an option    22                                                                        Risk of reputational damage -
  Nature and the environment are the most valued                    Partnerships with Traditional Owners present                         the touring route is at a tipping point                     52
  elements of the Great Ocean Road region                      22   an exciting opportunity                                         38   Risks to the ongoing operation and function
  Each community is unique and has its own distinct identity   22    Significant cultural (tangible and intangible) values               of the Great Ocean Road                                     52
                                                                     mapping required                                               38
  Management of traffic and tourism visitation needs
                                                                                                                                         Short-term and local interests prioritised                  54
  to change                                                    22    Traditional Owner involvement in natural resources

  More emphasis is needed on environmental protection,
                                                                     management is increasing                                       39   Environmental risks                                         54
  road safety and climate change implications                  23   Land-use planning lacks a clear strategic                            Missed opportunities                                        54
  There is strong support for the establishment of a single         direction                                                       40   5. Recommendations                                          58
  entity to manage the Great Ocean Road                        24    Planning hierarchy connects state, regions and local
                                                                                                                                         State policy position                                       59
  An agreed vision and a holistic strategic framework plan           priorities                                                     40
  is needed                                                    25    Limited strategic direction                                    40   A new overarching planning framework                        62
  Development of a robust funding model is essential           25    The visitor economy is important to the future prosperity           Institutional changes                                       68
  Further engagement on any new governance                           of the region                                                  42   Sustainable funding model                                   75
  arrangements should occur                                    25
                                                                    The visitor economy is an important industry                         Supporting initiatives                                      76
3. Key Findings                                                28   for the Great Ocean Road region                                 42
                                                                                                                                         Appendix A – Terms of Reference                             92
An international destination of national                             Visitor numbers are steadily growing                           42
significance                                                   28    The number of visitors will continue to grow, even if we
  Economic and iconic brand value                              28    do nothing                                                     43

  Traditional Owner value                                      28    The visitor experience could be improved                       44

  Environmental value                                          28    The challenge is to increase the local benefit from visitors   45

  Social value                                                 29    There is no forum with status for local community input        45

  A holistic approach to protect its benefits                  29
PROTECTING OUR ICONIC COAST AND PARKS - Governance of the Great Ocean Road, its land and seascapes - Amazon ...
Protecting our iconic coast and parks

List of recommendations
    Recommendation 1                                                activities and decision making                     Recommendation 11
                                                                •   prioritises preservation of the ecological and
    Recognise the national significance of the Great Ocean                                                             Establish a standing advisory committee to the Minister
                                                                    landscape integrity of coastal and marine
    Road and its iconic coastal landscapes in State policies                                                           for Planning for the Great Ocean Road region (under
                                                                    environments
    and establish a commensurate decision-making                                                                       Section 151 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987) to
                                                                •   includes planning for sustainable visitation and   streamline planning approvals and provide independent
    framework with a focus on its preservation, sustainable
                                                                    travel along the touring route                     expert advice on sustainable land development.
    economic development, and a great visitor experience.
                                                                •   is developed with community participation
                                                                •   is reviewed every 10 years                         FUNCTIONS:
    Recommendation 2                                                                                                   i. Act as a review panel for planning scheme
                                                                •   identifies elements that organisations must have
    Adopt this proposition and five objectives to provide           regard to, and those that are binding.                   amendments and planning permit applications
    direction to the governance arrangements and decision-                                                                   that are “called-in” by the Minister
    making frameworks.                                                                                                 ii. Act as a land-use and design review panel for
                                                               Recommendation 6
    The iconic landscapes along the Great Ocean Road                                                                         the responsible authorities for visitor economy
    have outstanding natural, heritage and cultural values     Establish planning guidelines to accompany the                development proposals that are consistent with
    and are to be treated as the one integrated and living     strategic framework plan that provide clear direction         the strategic framework plan and associated
    entity for protection and the appreciation of future       on appropriate land-uses and development design               planning guidelines
    generations.                                               standards across the area.                              iii. Act as a review panel for coastal and marine
     i. Protect the ecological and landscape integrity of                                                                    management plans, and consents to use or
          coastal and marine environments                      Recommendation 7                                              develop marine and coastal Crown land in the
                                                                                                                             Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks
     ii. Strengthen Traditional Owner involvement              Establish local community reference groups along the    iv. Provide policy and strategic advice to the Minister
     iii. Protect distinctive areas and landscapes             Great Ocean Road to provide input and guidance to             on:
     iv. Grow the local, state and national visitation         the development of the strategic framework plan.
                                                                                                                             a. development and operation of the
          economies
                                                                                                                                Great Ocean Road Strategic Framework Plan
     v. Modernise governance.                                  Recommendation 8                                              b. protection of coastal environments and
                                                               Establish a statutory requirement to audit and report            Crown land
    Recommendation 3                                                                                                         c. protection of the coastal public land footprint
                                                               annually to Parliament on the implementation of the
    Recognise and protect the marine waters and coastal        strategic framework plan by the responsible public               and public foreshore access
    land along the Great Ocean Road as the state significant   entities.                                                     d. sustainable visitation management of the
    ‘Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks’ for protection, care                                                                     Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks
    and investment.                                            Recommendation 9                                              e. related matters referred by the Minister.

                                                               Establish a statutory requirement for the               SKILLS:
    Recommendation 4
                                                               Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability to        Whilst the advisory committee can seek expert skills as
    Establish a statutory requirement to develop a shared      periodically assess and report on the environmental     required, its membership would need to include all of
    vision for the Great Ocean Road region with a long-        condition of the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks       the following skills:
    term outlook (50+ years).                                  as part of the regular reporting on the State of the
                                                                                                                        • strategic and statutory land-use planning
                                                               Environment in Victoria.
                                                                                                                        • architecture, urban design and landscape
    Recommendation 5                                                                                                       architecture
                                                               Recommendation 10                                        • marine and coastal environmental science
    Establish a statutory requirement to develop and
    maintain an overarching Great Ocean Road Strategic         Support the Eastern Maar and Wadawurrung to map          • transport planning
    Framework Plan that:                                       their cultural values in the Great Ocean Road Coast      • Traditional Owner values
     • gives effect to the vision                              and Parks.                                               • heritage
     • provides direction to municipal and agency                                                                       • tourism and economic viability.
8
Great Ocean Road Final Report

Recommendation 12                                               Road Coast and Parks                                         Recommendation 19
                                                            •   purchase, consolidate, take on, transfer or
Streamline planning approvals by providing planning                                                                          Review the public land commercial tour operator and
                                                                otherwise acquire land for inclusion in the Great
services to supplement the councils’ capacity to assess                                                                      commercial activity provider licences system.
                                                                Ocean Road Coast and Parks
large and complex land development projects and
ensuring that referral agencies are adequately resourced.   •   visitor operations in or on the Great Ocean Road
                                                                Coast and Parks                                              Recommendation 20

Recommendation 13                                           INDEPENDENT SKILLS BASED BOARD OF EXPERTS COVERING:              Establish a working group to identify opportunities for
                                                            •   land-use planning and landscape architecture                 shared municipal-like services delivery along the Great
Establish a new statutory authority, the Great Ocean Road                                                                    Ocean Road and develop an implementation plan.
                                                            •   marine and coastal environmental science
Coast and Parks Authority, with an independent chair and
skill-based board, to manage the coastal Crown land and     •   travel, tourism, hospitality and leisure
                                                            •   finance and investment facilitation
                                                                                                                             Recommendation 21
marine parks along the Great Ocean Road.
                                                            •   construction management                                      Review and align anomalous Crown land reservations
FUNCTIONS:
                                                            •   natural resource management                                  and parcel information within the Great Ocean Road
The primary purpose is to protect and manage visitation
                                                            •   Eastern Maar and Wadawurrung values                          Coast and Parks with the directions of the strategic
of the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks, to:
                                                                                                                             framework plan.
 • protect and enhance the ecological and landscape         •   heritage values management.
     integrity of the coastal parks and marine areas
     along the Great Ocean Road                             Recommendation 14                                                Recommendation 22
 • protect coastal assets (natural and built), the                                                                           Conduct a capacity analysis for the Great Ocean Road
                                                            Establish local community advisory committees, an
     coastal public land footprint, and community                                                                            (the road, coast and marine environments, parks and
                                                            environmental advisory committee, and a tourism industry
     access                                                                                                                  key destinations, accommodation, coastal towns) and
                                                            advisory committee as ongoing forums for involving local
 • prepare for, and manage, the impacts of natural                                                                           identify visitation management options.
                                                            communities and key stakeholders in the management of
     forces on, and climate change risks to, coastal        the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks.
     public land and assets.                                                                                                 Recommendation 23
OTHER PURPOSES:                                             Recommendation 15                                                Develop a sustainable visitation management strategy for
•   sustainable visitation management including:                                                                             the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks.
                                                            Enshrine the new governance arrangements for the
    -- operation of visitor facilities and camping          Great Ocean Road, its landscapes and seascapes in
        grounds                                             stand-alone legislation that includes a preamble by              Recommendation 24
    -- issuing of permits for events and commercial         the Traditional Owners.
        activities, leases and licenses                                                                                      Review the risks to the ongoing operation and function
                                                                                                                             of the Great Ocean Road and develop a longer-term
    -- regulation of commercial operation in, on or
                                                            Recommendation 16                                                transport network strategy.
        around the Crown land and marine parks
•   support the involvement of the Traditional Owners       Strengthen the capacity of the Eastern Maar
    in the management of cultural values and natural        and Wadawurrung to actively participate in the                   Recommendation 25
    resources (including Crown land)                        management of their traditional lands.
                                                                                                                             Work with Road Safety Agencies to review and identify
•   coordinate government construction projects and                                                                          the priority projects to improve the safety and well-
    disruptions along the Great Ocean Road                  Recommendation 17                                                being of travellers along the Great Ocean Road.
•   deliver construction projects
                                                            Establish long term funding arrangements for the
•   facilitate appropriate economic development             new authority.                                                   Recommendation 26
•   educate and foster community stewardship (and
    volunteerism) of coastal land.                                                                                           Establish the visitor expectations and emergency
                                                            Recommendation 18                                                services benefits of enhanced digital connectivity
POWERS REQUIRED TO:                                                                                                          in towns, and connection to mobile phone services
                                                            Review the long-term risks from coastal erosion and
•   ensure funds raised (from caravan parks and                                                                              between towns, along the Great Ocean Road..
                                                            inundation, severe weather events and climate change
    leases etc) can be collected, held, remain with, and    on coastal Crown land and assets.
    be allocated to initiatives within the Great Ocean

                                                                                                                                                                                        9
Teddy’s Lookout
     Source: © surfcoastimages

10
                                 Protecting our iconic coast and parks
Great Ocean Road Final Report

                                Introduction
                                       11
Protecting our iconic coast and parks

     Introduction
     Background to the review
     The 243-kilometre long, National Heritage listed Great Ocean Road1 that runs from
     Torquay to Allansford is one of the world’s most scenic and iconic coastal touring routes.
     Its sheer limestone cliffs, pockets of rainforest, shipwreck history, and world-class surfing
     breaks make the Great Ocean Road one of Australia’s most popular destinations for
     visitors and Victoria’s premier tourism asset.

                                             It is one of the best sites in the world to   efforts) and provided employment
                                             study the entire sequence of limestone        for returned servicemen – opening
                                             coast evolution and includes rare polar       up access to the dramatic coastal
                                             dinosaur fossil sites, the best known one     scenery to day-trippers and tourists.
                                             being Dinosaur Cove. Fossils collected
                                             from numerous sites along the coast           Its construction – built by hand as
                                             are rare and continue to yield important      close as possible to the ocean – was a
                                             scientific information.                       momentous engineering feat at the time.

                                             The coastal region is of high cultural,       Ever since opening, the Road has been
                                             ecological and economic importance            recognised as one of the world’s great
                                             to the Eastern Maar and Wadawurrung           ocean drives. Consequently, in 1955 the
                                             People who have known this Country, and       Road was the subject of a pioneering
                                             cared for it, since the beginning.            planning scheme for coastal and rural
                                                                                           scenery protection and planning.
                                             The Road is also a permanent memorial
                                             to the servicemen who served in World         Its coastal towns and settlements are
                                             War 1 and a significant part of Victoria’s    home to 24,000 residents2 and it is home
                                             pioneering history. The commemorative         to international sporting events such as
                                             road construction project was financed        the Lorne Pier to Pub Ocean Swim, the
                                             by the Great Ocean Road Trust (with           Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and
                                             substantial community fundraising             the Rip Curl Pro.

                                             Great Ocean Road construction workers c1920
                                             Source: Heritage Victoria
12
It is just 90 minutes’ drive from Melbourne,                                erosion and inundation. In places,
even closer from Avalon Airport (with                                       the ongoing operation and function
international flights commencing late                                       of the Road itself is at risk from land
2018), and a key destination for Victorians,                                slippages, coastal erosion and cliff
interstate visitors and international                                       regression (all exacerbated by the
tourists. The Great Ocean Road region                                       impacts of climate change).
is a more popular tourist destination
than Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef                                       Future revenue streams from the
combined – and visitor numbers are                                          caravan parks, which provide vital
expected to keep rising.                                                    funds for protecting the nearby coastal
                                                                            environment, are also uncertain, with the
The combination of environmental                                            loss of some camping sites due to coastal
stressors and increased visitation is                                       erosion and inundation likely.
creating significant challenges.
                                                                            Significant government investment is
The Road has reached a tipping point.                                       already committed to the maintenance of
Unmanaged visitation and congestion is                                      the Great Ocean Road ($153 million)3 and
destroying the isolated nature experience                                   the development of a visitor centre at the
that is the essence of the attraction.                                      Twelve Apostles (around $100 million)4 .
In addition, the touring route lacks the                                    It’s likely an even greater investment will
necessary visitor amenities for a great                                     be required once strategic assessments
experience (toilets, parking, viewpoints                                    and planning are undertaken.
and signage, mobile telephone signal,
food/beverage offerings, interpretive                                       A century on from the initial survey
information and tourist products).                                          party setting out to peg the route of
                                                                            the Great Ocean Road, there is an
The natural environment along the                                           urgent need to peg out the governance
Great Ocean Road includes beaches,                                          arrangements required to secure
biodiversity, cliffs, coastal parks, sand                                   the future of the Road and coastal
dunes, coastal plants and animals.                                          environment for the next century.
All are under threat from coastal

                                                                                                                                                           Travelling along the Great Ocean Road
                                                                                                                                                           Source: Lorne Historical Society
1.   The 243-kilometre National Heritage listed length of the Great Ocean Road is from Torquay to Allansford. The heritage listing can be viewed at
     http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/organisations/australian-heritage-council/national-heritage-assessments/great-ocean-road.
2.   Population of coastal towns along the Great Ocean Road from Torquay to Allansford (includes Torquay and Jan-Juc and excludes Allansford)
     provided by Land Use and Population Research Branch (Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning) based on selected data
     from Australian Bureau of Statistics Census 1996 to 2016.
3.   The Australian and Victorian governments have invested $100 million in the Great Ocean Road Upgrade project to improve safety, and the
     experience of Australia’s most visited destination. This extensive program involves resurfacing the road, pedestrian and cycling improvements,
     replacement of several bridges and the installation of new drainage at over 100 locations. The Victorian Government has also committed an
     additional $53 million to safeguard the geotechnical future of the road following the 2016 floods and landslides at Separation Creek and Wye River.
4.   The Victorian Budget 2018/19 invests $153.2 million towards the Geelong City Deal, with funds going to build the new Convention Centre, progress
     the Shipwreck Coast Masterplan including the Glenample Visitor Experience Centre at the Twelve Apostles, and advance a strategy to revitalise
     the city’s centre. The projects are dependent however on an equal contribution from the Commonwealth Government.                                                                              13
Regional advocacy for change
                                              The responsible public entities and key stakeholders
                                              (such as the G21 Geelong Regional Alliance, Great Ocean
                                              Road Regional Tourism and local councils) regard the
                                              current approach to protecting the coastal and marine
                                              environments along the Great Ocean Road, visitation
                                              management, public land administration, land-use
                                              planning and community engagement as unsustainable.
                                              They want State Government intervention.

                                              The call for intervention is not new. In 2016,          This position is supported by local
                                              the issue was nominated as a priority                   councils with Colac Otway Shire calling
                                              by the Barwon Regional Partnership at                   for a fundamentally new approach to the
                                              their Regional Assembly to “Simplify the                management of the Great Ocean Road
                                              complex and duplicated management                       and coast as part of its submission into
                                              arrangements for the Great Ocean Road”.                 the Government’s Marine and Coastal Act
                                                                                                      review, arguing that the coast and road in
                                              It was also highlighted as a priority for the           the region are inherently linked:
                                              Great South Coast Regional Partnership
                                              at their regional assemblies in November                   “Colac Otway is arguing that a single,
                                              2016 and November 2017:                                    appropriately funded and resourced
                                                                                                         Great Ocean Road authority should
                                                    “The Government consider the                         be seriously considered.” 5
                                                    merits of establishing a coordinated
                                                    governance mechanism for the Great
     Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race 2017

                                                    Ocean Road, to ensure a planned,
                                                    integrated economically prosperous
                                                    approach to this iconic destination.”
     Source: Surf Coast Shire

                                              5.   Colac Otway Shire media release 24 November 2016

14
Great Ocean Road Final Report

Great Ocean Road Taskforce

In May 2017, the Victorian Government         Its membership comprises:
allocated $1.3 million in the 2017-2018       •• Independent Co-Chairs:
State Budget to establish the Great
                                                   –– the Hon Peter Batchelor
Ocean Road Taskforce (the Taskforce)
                                                      (Victorian Minister for Transport
to review the effectiveness of current
                                                      from 1999 to 2006)
governance arrangements and
recommend governance reforms. This                 –– the Hon Terry Mulder (Victorian
original budget has been supplemented                 Minister for Public Transport
by an additional $625,000 from                        and Minister for Roads from
Regional Development Victoria who,                    2010 to 2014)
in partnership with the Department of         •• Nominees of the Traditional Owners
Environment, Land, Water and Planning,           of Country for the Great Ocean Road:
are supporting the project delivery.               –– Eastern Maar Aboriginal
                                                      Corporation: Mr Jamie Lowe
In September 2017 the Victorian
                                                      (Chief Executive Officer) and Mr
Government announced the membership
                                                      Jason Mifsud (Chair)
of an independently-chaired Taskforce
to review the current governance                   –– Wadawurrung: Ms Corrina                                                              From left to right: Bruce Anson, Peter

arrangements for the Great Ocean                      Eccles (Manager Geelong                                                              Batchelor, Keith Baillie, Jamie Lowe, Wayne
                                                                                          •• The CEOs of the five Local                    Kayler-Thomson, Diane James, Paul Davis,
Road and its environs and recommend                   Office) and Mr Paul Davis                                                            Elaine Carbines, Tony McGann, Jason
                                                                                             Government Authorities along the
reforms to simplify the management                    (General Manager)                                                                    Mifsud, Corrina Eccles, Terry Mulder.
                                                                                             Great Ocean Road:                             Absent: Andrew Mason, David Madden.
arrangements and:                             •• Members with expertise and
                                                                                               –– Surf Coast Shire (Mr Keith Baillie)
                                                 experience in tourism and coastal
i.     strengthen protections of the                                                           –– Colac Otway Shire (Mr Peter
                                                 management, who understand the
       landscape setting                                                                          Brown/Mr Robert Dobrzynski/Mr
                                                 key issues relating to the governance
ii.    improve the visitor experience            of the Great Ocean Road:                         Tony McGann)
                                                   –– Ms Diane James, AM (former               –– Corangamite Shire (Mr Andrew
iii.   provide greater certainty in land-
                                                      Chair of the Victorian Coastal              Mason)
       use planning and attract investment
       proposals that will benefit visitors           Council for over a decade)               –– Warrnambool City Council
       and local communities.                      –– Ms Elaine Carbines (Chief                   (Mr Bruce Anson)
                                                      Executive Officer of G21 – The           –– Moyne Shire (Mr David Madden)
The Taskforce is overseen by three
                                                      Geelong Region Alliance)
coordinating ministers (Minister                                                          The full terms of reference of the
for Planning, Minister for Regional                –– Mr Wayne Kayler-Thomson
                                                                                          Taskforce are outlined in Appendix A.
Development, Minister for Tourism and                 (Chair of Great Ocean Road
Major Events) supported by the Minister for           Regional Tourism)
Energy, Environment and Climate Change.
                                                                                                                                                                                   15
Protecting our iconic coast and parks

               Review process
               This is a Co-Chairs Report. Its purpose is to provide independent advice to Government on
               the effectiveness of the current governance for the Great Ocean Road and its landscapes,
               and recommend reforms to simplify the complex management arrangements and:

               •• strengthen protections of the                                Taskforce in consultation with a project       As required by their terms of reference,
                  landscape setting                                            reference group and key stakeholders.          the Co-Chairs reviewed past strategies,
               •• improve the visitor experience                               The Issues Paper was publicly released         including the implementation of the 2015-
                                                                               on 21 March 2018 to promote discussion         2025 Strategic Master Plan for the Great
               •• provide greater certainty in land-
                                                                               and seek community feedback about the          Ocean Road Region Visitor Economy,
                  use planning and attract investment
                                                                               opportunities to improve the oversight and     the Shipwreck Coast Masterplan 2015,
                  proposals that will benefit visitors and
                                                                               management of the Great Ocean Road             the 2004 Great Ocean Road Region
                  local communities.
                                                                               region.                                        Strategy and the VicRoads Great Ocean
               The Taskforce’s Co-Chairs, in                                                                                  Road Management Strategy 2013. The
                                                                               Submissions closed at the end of April         experience of cooperative efforts during
               consultation with the three coordinating
                                                                               after face-to face conversions with more       the Wye River Bushfire Reconstruction
               Ministers, decided to compliment the
                                                                               than 780 people at a variety of locations      process was also reviewed.
               collaborative approach of the Taskforce
                                                                               (Melbourne, Torquay, Anglesea, Lorne, Wye
               investigations, with the independence
                                                                               River, Apollo Bay, the Twelve Apostles, Port   The Taskforce investigations also included:
               of Co-Chair recommendations. These
                                                                               Campbell, Warrnambool and Port Fairy)          •• travelling along the Great Ocean
               decisions reflected the terms of
                                                                               and more than 570 written responses.              Road with briefings by the Traditional
               reference for the Taskforce and the
               forward-looking nature of the review.                                                                             Owners and officers from key
                                                                               The Co-Chairs carefully examined
                                                                                                                                 responsible organisations on the key
                                                                               stakeholder concerns and the views of
               The Co-Chairs adopted an issue-                                                                                   issues and opportunities
                                                                               the community, and in particular those
               and-opportunities-led approach to                                                                              •• holding issues and opportunities
                                                                               examples that illustrated systemic issues.
INTRODUCTION

               examining the current governance                                                                                  identification workshops with key
                                                                               This analysis identified critical issues and
               arrangements for the Great Ocean                                                                                  stakeholder representatives
                                                                               informed the recommended changes to
               Road and its landscapes – including
                                                                               governance arrangements. The review            •• carrying out a desktop review that
               the policies, legislation and regulation,
                                                                               was not a performance review of the               examined the governance models of
               institutional arrangements, funding,
                                                                               responsible organisations. Therefore,             comparable destinations around the
               infrastructure and project delivery.
                                                                               it did not investigate specific issues,           world, in particular the Great Barrier
                                                                               problems or complaints, including those           Reef (Australia), Milford Sound (New
1.

               An initial issues paper, Governance of the
               Great Ocean Road Region Issues Paper 6                          relating to statutory decisions.                  Zealand), Big Sur (California) and
               (the Issues Paper), was developed by the                                                                          Cinque Terre (Italy)

                6.   Access online at https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/policy-and-strategy/great-ocean-road-taskforcee

16
Great Ocean Road Final Report

                                                                                           Figure 1: Project timeline

                                                                                                  May 2017
                                                                                                  $1.3 million State budget
                                                                                                  allocation

                                                                                                  Sep 2017
•• developing and analysing four potential   Note that the Taskforce did not                      Taskforce established
   governance options (facilitated by        commission any new investigations into
   Deloitte Access Economics)                management of public land along the
                                                                                                  Nov 2017-Feb 2018
•• surveying visitor travel patterns         Great Ocean Road as the issues and
                                             deficiencies are well-known, and have been
                                                                                                  Critical Issues and
   (via people-intercept surveys; the                                                             Opportunities identification
   observation of vehicle movements at       reported on several times in recent years.
   Anglesea, Apollo Bay, Lorne and Port
                                             A series of Taskforce meetings over
   Campbell; and a number-plate survey
                                             the 10-month duration of this project                Dec 2017 – Apr 2018
   of vehicles travelling along the Great
                                             also provided a valuable and insightful              Investigations
   Ocean Road).
                                             discussion forum to explore the issues
In addition, the Co-Chairs considered        raised in greater depth and detail –
several recent reports that dealt in         contributing to the development of the
                                                                                                  Mar 2018
detail with the issues associated with       recommendations in this report. The
                                                                                                  Release of Governance of the
the management of Crown land. Those          Taskforce also undertook a strategic
                                                                                                  Great Ocean Road Region
pertinent reports were:                      options evaluation (facilitated by Deloitte          Issues Paper
                                             Access Economics).
•• Protecting Victoria’s Coastal Assets
   by the Victorian Auditor General’s        The high-level practicability (and
   Office (29 March 2018)                    implementation requirements) of proposed             Mar – Apr 2018
•• State-wide Assessment of Public           changes were taken into consideration                Community consultation

                                                                                                                                   INTRODUCTION
   Land Final Report by the Victorian        during the framing of recommendations.
   Environment Assessment Council            A detailed cost benefit analysis of
                                                                                                  May 2018
   (1 July 2017)                             the recommendations has not been
                                                                                                  Analysis of community
•• Marine and Coastal Act Consultation       undertaken however, as this was outside
                                                                                                  feedback
   Paper (August 2016) and the               the scope of the terms of reference.
   subsequent Transition Plan,
   Strengthening Victoria’s Marine                                                                Jun – Jul 2018

                                                                                                                                   1.
   and Coastal Management, by the                                                                 Taskforce deliberations
   Department of Environment, Land,
   Water and Planning that accompanies
                                                                                                  Aug 2018
   the Marine and Coastal Act 2018.
                                                                                                  Co-Chairs Report to government
                                                                                                                                       17
Summer day at Kennett River
     Source: © surfcoastimages

18
                                   Protecting our iconic coast and parks
Great Ocean Road Final Report

                                 Community
                                engagement
                                     19
Protecting our iconic coast and parks

                       Community engagement
                       The Governance of the Great Ocean Road Region Issues Paper (the Issues Paper) was
                       released on 21 March 2018 to promote discussion and seek feedback on opportunities to
                       improve the oversight and management of the Great Ocean Road and its landscapes.

                       These opportunities included the             process was designed to capture a wide       views of tourists at the Twelve Apostles,
                       establishment of a new management            range of perspectives. People were invited   with a mandarin version of the short-form
                       model, the development of an overarching     to have their say in person; via a written   survey also available online.
                       strategic framework plan, establishing       submission; or online via a survey, online
                       a lead agency and improved funding           mapping tool or submission form. Public      Community views were provided to the
                       arrangements. The Issues Paper was           open-house sessions were geographically      Co-Chairs in face-to-face conversation
                       available for public comment for six weeks   dispersed to capture the views of the        with more than 780 people (including
                       and submissions closed on 30 April 2018.     distinct local communities along the         direct briefings, listening posts and open
                                                                    Great Ocean Road, with sessions held         house sessions). Written comments
                       Who we heard from                            in Torquay, Anglesea, Lorne, Wye River,      (online or in hard copy) were also received
                                                                    Apollo Bay, Port Campbell, Warrnambool       with 57 submissions and 516 responses
                       Given the large study area, and the          and Port Fairy. A session was also held in   to the 11 questions asked in the Issues
                       number and diversity of users, local         Melbourne to capture part-time residents     Paper from a range of government and
                       communities and visitors interested in                                                    stakeholder organisations, community
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

                                                                    and holiday home owners. A mandarin-
                       the Great Ocean Road, the consultation       speaking park ranger helped capture the      groups and individuals.

                                          >780                                               57                                          516
                                          face to face                                       submissions                                 surveys
2.

                                          conversations

20
Great Ocean Road Final Report

The Governance of the Great Ocean Road Region Issues Paper              6.    Do you have any suggested changes to the overarching
proposed a new management model and sought feedback on                        policy, goals and principles (on pages 40 to 41)?
the following questions.
                                                                        7.    What elements would you like to see covered in a strategic
                                                                              framework plan for the Great Ocean Road region?
1.       What do you love most about the Great Ocean Road and
         its landscapes?                                                8.    What are your thoughts about establishing a new
                                                                              organisation to oversee the development, and coordinate
2.       What aspect of the Great Ocean Road and its landscapes
                                                                              implementation, of a strategic framework plan for the
         would you most like to see protected?
                                                                              Great Ocean Road region?
3.       What aspect of the Great Ocean Road and its landscapes
                                                                        9.    What current constraints need to be addressed in the
         would you most like to see changed?
                                                                              future governance arrangements?
4.       Do you work for, own or operate a business, or are you a
                                                                        10. Are there any other management models/options we
         member of a community organisation, that benefits from
                                                                            should consider?
         visitors to the Great Ocean Road region? If so, what are
         the key issues for the organisation/business?                  11.   What criteria should the Taskforce use to evaluate the
                                                                              management model options?
5.       Is there any critical issue or opportunity that we have
         missed (in chapter 3 of this Issues Paper)?

     A number of key messages emerged from the community
     engagement process:

                                                                                                                                           COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
     •     Major change is required - doing nothing is not          •         There is strong support for the establishment of
           an option.                                                         a single entity to manage the Great Ocean Road
                                                                              and its environs.
     •     Nature and the environment are the most valued
           elements of the Great Ocean Road region.                 •         A shared vision of the future for the region and a
                                                                              strategic framework plan is needed.
     •     Each community along the Great Ocean Road is
           unique and has its own distinct identity.                •         Development of a robust funding model is
                                                                              essential.
     •     Management of traffic and tourism needs
           to change.                                               •         Further engagement on any new governance

                                                                                                                                           2.
                                                                              arrangements is desired.
     •     More emphasis is needed in the final report
           on environmental protection, road safety and
           climate change implications.

                                                                                                                                                  21
Protecting our iconic coast and parks

                       What we heard

                       Major change is required –                     highly prized, as are the flora and fauna.      “The sense of community in the
                       doing nothing is not an option                 Coastal views were frequently described         townships dotted along the route
                                                                      as magical, pristine and spectacular, and       must be preserved and protected.”
                       Most stakeholders and members of the           landmarks such as the Twelve Apostles
                       community that spoke to us agreed that         and Loch Ard George highlighted as              “Issues are different at this end
                       major change is required.                      unique. The contrast of experiences along       of the Great Ocean Road”
                                                                      the Great Ocean Road – dramatic coastal
                       There is a high level of support for major                                                     Overdevelopment and commercial
                                                                      views, the rainforest and the farming areas
                       changes to the existing management                                                             development were frequently described
                                                                      – were highly valued. Consequently, the
                       arrangements as they are perceived                                                             as being detrimental to the natural
                                                                      aspects of the Great Ocean Road region
                       to lack co-ordination, are too complex                                                         environment and vistas. Prevention
                                                                      that people wanted to see protected were
                       to navigate and involve too many                                                               of ribbon development along the
                                                                      nature and the environment.
                       responsible agencies. The current system                                                       coast through the protection of areas
                       is perceived to be inefficient, bureaucratic                                                   between townships was highlighted
                                                                      Each community is unique and has
                       and creating inequities between local                                                          as a key issue requiring action.
                                                                      its own distinct identity
                       government areas as to where funding is
                       allocated for critical infrastructure.         Many respondents highlighted the                Management of traffic and tourism
                                                                      uniqueness of the towns along the Great         visitation needs to change
                       We were told that changes to                   Ocean Road, with each having its own
                       management arrangements needs to                                                               Transport and traffic management were
                                                                      identity and issues. The uniqueness,
                       happen as quickly as possible.                                                                 identified as the aspects people most
                                                                      or feel or vibe, of each township was
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

                                                                                                                      wanted to change about the Great Ocean
                                                                      frequently described as a highlight. The
                       Nature and the environment are the                                                             Road region.
                                                                      sense of community in townships was
                       most valued elements of the Great              highly appreciated, and there was a             Road condition, road use and road safety
                       Ocean Road region                              strong community ethos to care for the          were frequently mentioned. Respondents
                                                                      environment. Liveability for residents was      identified the need for the widening of
                       “The landscape is iconic for Australia, and
                                                                      another key theme. The history and heritage     roads, additional pull-over lanes, speed
                       the balance between the native flora and
                                                                      of the region is highly prized and frequently   limits, verges, traffic management, driver
                       fauna on one side and the rugged ocean
                                                                      described as important to the identity of the   education, traffic lights, and shared-user
                       scenery on the other is breathtaking
                                                                      Great Ocean Road and its surrounds.             paths for cycling and walking. The need
                       natural environment”
                                                                                                                      to better manage congestion on peak
                       Feedback overwhelmingly identified the         Protection of townships from
                                                                                                                      days (with increased numbers of tourist
2.

                       nature experience and the environment          overdevelopment was also a strong theme
                                                                                                                      buses and vehicles) was highlighted
                       as the elements most loved about the           in feedback. Residential development
                                                                                                                      and improved public transport options
                       Great Ocean Road region. The vast,             was frequently mentioned as having a
                                                                                                                      such as more local buses and trains
                       unspoiled landscapes and seascapes are         negative impact on township size.
                                                                                                                      were suggested. The inability to take

22
Great Ocean Road Final Report

Figure 2: Responses to the question “What do you love most about the Great Ocean Road and its landscapes?”

                                                                                       forests   open            uniqueness
                                                                      mountains   community          windy unique developed
                                                                             rugged               place road pristine       protected

                                                                               natural
                                                             fauna                                                  feel    history
                                                  peaceful     busy    bush                                         landscape
                                                         close
                                                                views ocean
                                             general                                                                 water
                                                                                                                air coast
                                             walk like
                                          flora                                                                            people
                       great     clean    free    wildlife
                           small vista
                       nice lots beautiful
                   quiet
                        drive beauty
                           great
                             weather     coastline
                                       groups view
                                          roads          beach   scenery
                                                                road

                                                                                                                sea
                                                                 beachestowns
                                              scenic see                       care                                         look
                                                    peace cliffs                                                                    things
                                                         forest
                                                    unspoiled
                                                                          apostles
                                                                                                                           landscapes
                                                                      good   driving
                                                                         bushland          nature                space
                                                                                                                           walking stunning
                                                                                             environment

The more frequently a specific word is used in a response, the bigger and bolder it appears in the word cloud

surfboards and bicycles on buses was                                    to provide and maintain public facilities                      in the Issues Paper. However, the
also raised as a deterrent to increased                                 such as rubbish bins and toilets to cater                      community felt that there was an over-
public transport use.                                                   for visitors.                                                  emphasis on the economic development
                                                                                                                                       of the region and insufficient emphasis on
The management of visitation,                                           The carrying capacity of the Great

                                                                                                                                                                                     COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
                                                                                                                                       the protection of the environment.
particularly congestion at key sites,                                   Ocean Road, the towns along it, and the
and the need to limit visitor numbers to                                environment, was also identified as a key                      Issues identified as having been missed
ensure an enjoyable experience, was also                                issue that needs investigation.                                included the need to recognise the
identified as a key issue requiring action.                                                                                            distinctive characteristics of each
The provision of tourism infrastructure                                 The opportunity to enhance the visitor                         community along the Great Ocean
– including sheltered rest stops, viewing                               experience through the interpretation of                       Road, and the consideration of the
points and parking facilities – was                                     Aboriginal culture, history and heritage                       emergency management implications
identified as an urgent tourism need to                                 was mentioned by a number of people.                           of high visitation days, which usually
provide a great visitor experience.                                                                                                    occurs during the highest fire risk period.
                                                                        More emphasis is needed on
                                                                                                                                       Feedback also requested more emphasis
Another concern was the responsibility for                              environmental protection, road                                 be placed on road safety and the

                                                                                                                                                                                     2.
provision of facilities for large numbers                               safety and climate change                                      implications of climate change.
of visitors in the absence of a dedicated                               implications
funding stream, with local communities                                                                                                 Respondents generally supported the
receiving very little return from visitors.                             Feedback confirmed that, in general,                           proposed policy, goals and principles with
Local communities highlighted the need                                  most of the key issues had been captured                       some refinements suggested.

                                                                                                                                                                                        23
There is strong support for the             guidance on appropriate development,
                               establishment of a single entity to         streamline planning processes and
                               manage the Great Ocean Road                 provide certainty for all involved.

                               There was strong support for the            Respondents said that any new entity
                               establishment of a single entity that has   must have appropriate dedicated
                               the legislative power and ongoing funding   ongoing funding to support its functions.
                               mechanisms to plan and/or manage
                                                                           “A new authority/body must have the
                               the Great Ocean Road region (including
                                                                           legislative functions and authority to
                               support from most public entities).
                                                                           carry out its remit that covers all of the
                               However, this support was often qualified
                                                                           aspects of the Great Ocean Road region
                               with the need for a corresponding
                                                                           i.e. infrastructure, tourism, economies and
                               reduction in the total number of entities
                                                                           environment.”
                               currently managing the Great Ocean
                               Road region to avoid adding another         A number of respondents commented
                               layer of bureaucracy and complexity, or     on the composition of the Board of
                               risking duplication.                        any new entity. Some thought a skills-
                                                                           based board would be appropriate,
                               Respondents felt that a single entity
                                                                           others preferred having designated
                               would provide leadership, a single point
                                                                           positions for key stakeholders. Local
                               of accountability, a reduction in red
                                                                           communities emphasised the need for
                               tape, and a coordinated planning and
                                                                           community participation in decision
                               delivery approach for the implementation
                                                                           making and a direct connection
                               of the strategic framework plan and
                                                                           to the Board. Concern was also
                               maintenance works along the Great
                                                                           expressed that decisions affecting local
                               Ocean Road region (shifting away from
                                                                           communities would be made by a body
                               the current piecemeal approach).
                                                                           removed from the local community.
                               “…bringing a collaborative and
                                                                           A small number of submissions
                               deliberative approach to solving some
                                                                           and respondents desired further
                               of the very challenging issues facing the
                                                                           consultation to occur on new
                               protection and improvement of the Great
                                                                           governance arrangements.
                               Ocean Road and environments would be
                               an excellent step forward.”                 Concerns were also expressed
     Community consultation,

                                                                           about the time needed to establish
                               A strong theme emerging from feedback
                                                                           any new body, and the need for
     Twelve Apostles

                               was that public land should be managed
                                                                           immediate action on the ground.
                               centrally. A single entity was seen
                               by respondents as a way to provide

24
Great Ocean Road Final Report

Figure 3: There is strong support for establishing a new authority

(Total number of responses = 189)

                             Individual (n=123)                                  64%                                               27%                9%

              Community & User Groups (n=16)                                     63%                                               31%                 6%

                               Business (n=26)                                   73%                                                15%              12%

                              Peak Body (n=9)                                    78%                                                     11%         11%

                      Responsible Entity (n=15)                                  80%                                                           13%     7%

                                                                       Support         Unsure/Under Consideration         Not Support

An agreed vision and a holistic                                Development of a robust funding                                Further engagement on any new
strategic framework plan is needed                             model is essential                                             governance arrangements should
                                                                                                                              occur
There was widespread support for                               Most respondents stressed the need for
the development of an agreed vision                            the development of a robust funding                            Community and stakeholders held a
for the region, as well as a statutory                         model to support the future of the                             consistent view that they would like
strategic framework plan that provides                         region. Respondents felt that any new                          to be consulted on future governance

                                                                                                                                                                                COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
direction for land-use, landscape                              organisation should have funding to                            arrangements.
management and visitor facilities and                          support the operations and the planning
amenities. Respondents suggested that                          and delivery of key projects, including                        Whilst Council supports in principle the
the strategic framework plan should                            roads, tourist infrastructure and                              proposition of a single management
balance environmental protection                               environmental care and protection.                             authority for the Great Ocean Road,
and tourism levels through the control                                                                                        Council is concerned to ensure there is
of visitor numbers, provide guidance                           A key suggestion included the ongoing                          further consultation on the preferred
for development, and include an                                provision of both state and federal recurrent                  governance arrangements which are
infrastructure plan for future investment,                     funding to maintain and upgrade the Great                      finally recommended by the Taskforce
renewal and maintenance.                                       Ocean Road, given its importance to the                        before the recommendations are
                                                               state and national economy.                                    adopted by Government.’

                                                                                                                                                                                2.
Many respondents felt that future-                                                                                            – Corangamite Shire Council
proofing and planning for visitation of the                    Respondents were clear that any funding
wider region should be a consideration.                        generated in the region should stay in the                     More detailed information on community
                                                               region, with the revenue administered by                       feedback can be found in the Community
                                                               the new entity.                                                Views report7.

7.   The Community Views Report can be viewed online at https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/policy-and-strategy/great-ocean-road-taskforce                                              25
The Apostles at sunset
     Source: © surfcoastimages

26
                                 Protecting our iconic coast and parks
Great Ocean Road Final Report

                                Key findings
                                      27
Protecting our iconic coast and parks

               Key Findings
               An international destination of national significance.
               Economic and iconic brand value                                   to identify, harvest and utilise natural                          reserves of state significance – are
                                                                                 resources sustainably.                                            rich with Australian native wildlife9. The
               In the year ending June 2017, the Great                                                                                             place supports a wide range of plant
               Ocean Road attracted 5.8 million visitors.                        The region has a high concentration                               communities, ranging from tall wet
               Those visitors spent $1.3 billion and                             of Aboriginal archaeological sites                                eucalypt forest to coastal heathlands.
               supported 11,200 jobs in the region8. This                        because the coastal environment was
               tourism is a significant economic driver                          an important resource for the Eastern                             Remarkable underwater structures
               for the region and vital to Victoria’s                            Maar and Wadawurrung People. Natural                              along the coastline provide a
               visitor economy.                                                  resources like the spear wood from the                            complex foundation for magnificent
                                                                                 forests and brightly coloured ochres from                         habitats, such as kelp forests and
               Traditional Owner value                                           the coastlines along the Great Ocean                              colourful sponge gardens. The marine
                                                                                 Road were also highly valued and traded                           environment supports seabirds, seals,
               The coastal and forested landscapes
                                                                                 with neighbouring Aboriginal groups.                              lobsters, reef fish and sea spiders. The
               along the Great Ocean Road are of
                                                                                                                                                   intertidal and shallow subtidal reefs
               exceptional cultural, ecological and                              Environmental value                                               along the Great Ocean Road have the
               economic importance to the Eastern
                                                                                                                                                   greatest diversity of invertebrates on
               Maar and Wadawurrung People with                                  The coastline along the Great Ocean
                                                                                                                                                   limestone reefs in Victoria.
               evidence of their connection to Country                           Road is the best site in Australia, and one
               dating back over 35,000 years.                                    of the best sites in the world, to study                          Marine mammals also visit the area.
                                                                                 the entire sequence of limestone coast                            Visitors can see Little Penguins which
               The natural features along the Great                              evolution. It also includes rare polar                            nest in caves below the Twelve Apostles
               Ocean Road are embedded in Traditional                            dinosaur fossil sites, the best known one
KEY FINDINGS

                                                                                                                                                   (after dark or in the early morning). And,
               Owner culture, spirituality and wisdom.                           being Dinosaur Cove.                                              almost every year between June and
               Sacred sites and stories associated
                                                                                                                                                   September, Southern Right whales return
               with places along the road have been                              The parks along the Great Ocean
                                                                                                                                                   to the waters off Warrnambool’s Logans
               handed down by their ancestors and                                Road – including the Port Campbell
                                                                                                                                                   Beach – swimming as close as 100 metres
               elders. Traditional ecological knowledge                          National Park, Twelve Apostles Marine
                                                                                                                                                   from the shore.
               and land management techniques were                               National Park, the Great Otway National
3.

               used (such as fire and seasonal farming)                          Park, and many parklands and coastal

               8.   Source: Tourism Research Australia’s National and International Visitor Survey for Year ending, June 2017 with modelling and interpretation by Deloitte Access Economics.
               9.   Altogether the Road has nearly 170, 000 hectares of Crown land, all of which are managed and administered under a variety of Victorian and Commonwealth legislation.

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