THE crumbling Great Ocean Road has been promised a $50 million restoration under a Coalition plan to revive the national icon.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott has this morning promised to deliver $25 million to the scenic route, which will be matched by the State Government under a five year plan to stop rock falls, pot holes and worn road shoulders.
The winding 243km coastal road has become a political battleground between Liberal candidate Sarah Henderson and sitting Labor MP Darren Cheeseman who holds the ultra-marginal Corangamite electorate by just 0.3 per cent.
Mr Cheeseman has so far resisted calls for the Commonwealth to pay for the road, saying responsibility lies squarely with the state.
Mr Abbott announced the policy this morning in Anglesea with Ms Henderson and Wannon MP Dan Tehan, who also holds much of the road, including the 12 Apostles inside his south-west electorate.
"It is an iconic piece of regional infrastructure, and it urgently needs upgrading in order to boost the local economy, support the tourism industry and improve safety for motorists," Mr Abbott said.
The 80-year-old road is one of the state's biggest tourism drawcards, pumping $2.1 billion into the economy. Victorian Transport Minister Terry Mulder said his government would support the Coalition policy with a $25 million commitment.
"This will ensure that the Great Ocean Road continues to be the gateway to the Surf Coast and a lifeline for tourism and small business in south-western Victoria," Mr Mulder said.
The Victorian Government spends around $3.5 million annually on the road but rock falls and deteriorating surfaces have forced regular closures.
G21 Geelong Region Alliance has been lobbying the Commonwealth for the cash.