26 September 2023

Great Ocean Road inundated with changes

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The Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority is to reign over more of the iconic parks and coast along the Great Ocean Road with new legislation introducing major land management reforms.

Announced by Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, the Great Ocean Road and Environs Protection Bill 2021 empowers the Authority, established in December last year, to become the dedicated land manager for all types of public land in the area.

“Before the reforms, land management arrangements were fragmented across multiple competing Agencies, with no over-arching plan or single authority covering the length of the road,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“The changes mean the area’s special environment will be better protected with a coordinated approach to managing the visitor experience, investment, conservation, delivery of Traditional Owner self-determination, visitation numbers and community engagement,” she said.

“The changes will help the region bounce back from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic by stimulating nature-based tourism and supporting local jobs.”

Ms D’Ambrosio said land that was currently managed by other entities would be progressively transferred to the Authority to manage by November 2025.

The Minister said the transfers would focus on ensuring that the knowledge and expertise of existing land managers was not lost.

She said the Authority would continue to rely on Parks Victoria’s scientific and field expertise to ensure the ongoing protection of National Parks.

“These reforms make the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks into a parks manager that is dedicated to the care and protection of the iconic coast and parks along the Great Ocean Road,” she said.

“This major reform − four years in the making − will benefit local communities and ensure the amazing environment is protected for future generations.”

Ms D’Ambrosio said she looked forward to seeing the Authority grow, build strong relationships and deliver benefits for everyone.

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