$1 million boost for Twelve Apostles facilities

KEEPING Twelve Apostles sightseers in the region for longer will be the aim of a $1 million state package to improve the world-renowned landmark.

Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith (left) and Parks Victoria CEO Bill Jackson announce the $1 million grant yesterday. 140709RG04 Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith (left) and Parks Victoria CEO Bill Jackson announce the $1 million grant yesterday. 140709RG04 Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

State Environment Minister Ryan Smith announced cash would be allocated towards the Shipwreck Coast masterplan — a blueprint aimed at improving south-west tourist sites.

The seven-figure package would be spent on a range of projects at the Twelve Apostles site including improved car parking, bike share schemes and updated information facilities.

“We know the Twelve Apostles is one of Victoria’s best-known tourist attractions,” he said. “The challenge is keeping visitors here for longer.

“It is recognised by government, business and in the tourism sector that people want to visit the Twelve Apostles but they stay for only a short period then head back on the bus to Melbourne.”

Mr Smith said the cash generated per Twelve Apostles visitor was 18 cents, with nearby Port Campbell and other south-west towns missing out on thousands of tourist dollars.

How the $1 million will be spent is yet to be determined but a range of potential projects have been identified as part of the Shipwreck Coast masterplan.

The discussion paper states that more than 1.7 million visited the attraction yet most are day-trippers with less than a quarter of domestic tourists staying overnight.

Corangamite Shire mayor Chris O’Connor said more signage and improved parking were likely to be bankrolled.

“It’s a good start from the state government that they’re recognising increase patronage,” Cr O’Connor said.

“The car park in summer is inadequate for the number of tourists that visit the Twelve Apostles, so some of the funding may be spent there. Traffic does build up during the peak afternoon period, so it’s likely that will be addressed as well.”

Parks Victoria chief executive Bill Jackson attended yesterday’s announcement and told The Standard his organisation would work through the masterplan with other interested parties.

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