Concerns held over new Great Ocean Road authority

Concerns held over new Great Ocean Road authority

A new authority set up to oversee the management of the Great Ocean Road has been labelled as "bizarre" and "unnecessary".

Victorian National Parks Association spokesman Phil Ingamells made the comments, but he was not the only one to raise concerns about the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority that would be created on December 1.

Corangamite Shire Council mayor Neil Trotter said it wasn't clear who would sit on the board, if there would be any council representation and how much say the new authority would have over local planning matters.

He said handing over the management of the Port Campbell and Princetown recreation reserves to the new authority within two years could upset some community members.

The Victorian Parliament passed legislation last week which would see the creation of the new entity which aims to deliver a more coordinated approach to public land management along the 243km stretch of road. It will be headquartered in Torquay with offices in Apollo Bay and Port Campbell.

Mr Ingamells said the new authority would sit above Parks Victoria and was a "wasteful doubling of administrative resources".

"They have voted into place a government department which has no funding and no business model, we have no idea where the money for this is coming from, it's just bizarre," he said.

Mr Ingamells said he also feared it could weaken the environmental protection of national parks, which make up about 80 per cent of public land along the road. Further legislation would be required before responsibility for any national parks land was transferred from Parks Victoria to the authority.

Port Campbell community group secretary Marion Manifold said she was concerned the authority would reduce local input.

A DEWLP spokesman said funding options for the authority included leases, licences, caravan parks and events, as well as charging visitors such as through parking fees, vehicle passes and accommodation levies, excluding locals.

This story Concerns held over new Great Ocean Road authority first appeared on The Standard.