New group forms to help find Tower Hill funding

A NEW group has formed with the aim of directing some much-needed attention and investment toward Tower Hill.

Representatives from a number of organisations have formed the Tower Hill Working Group with the aim of putting a business case to state Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford.

It is believed the group is aiming to secure some significant funding from the state government.

The working group features representatives from Parks Victoria, VicRoads, Moyne Shire, Warrnambool City Council, Regional Development Victoria, and Aboriginal Affairs Victoria, who met for the first time last month. More stakeholders are expected to be involved, including Visit Victoria, Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism and local groups.

Warrnamboool City Council director of city growth Andrew Paton said Regional Development Victoria was driving the group.

“It comes off the recognition that Tower Hill is in need of serious investment,” Mr Paton said.

“It’s such a highly significant area because of its opportunities to see wildlife, it’s on a major highway (and we’re) trying to get a bit more of a strategic connection (between) Moyjil, Tower Hill and Budj Bim.”

Mr Paton said it was only “early days but we really welcome Tower Hill finally getting some attention”.

He said the inaugural working group meeting explored “what stakeholders we need to engage with, what are the key actions we’d like to work on, and a shared understanding of what the current issues are”.

“I think it’s important to emphasise we’re not just another strategic planning group,” Mr Paton said. 

“It was made very clear by all members that we want investment and action on the ground. It’s about getting some practical investment.”

It’s understood the group has been looking at the Tower Hill Future Directions Strategy, a report published in 2002 as a joint project by Warrnambool City Council, Moyne Shire and Parks Victoria but which is believed to have languished unused due to a lack of state government funding.

The 2002 strategy highlighted the “limited resources” available to Parks Victoria, but recommended the formation of a Tower Hill advisory group and to implement projects through partnerships.