MP Richard Riordan: Parking permits could manage Great Ocean Road popularity

The view from the Twelve Apostles viewing deck. Picture: Amy Paton
The view from the Twelve Apostles viewing deck. Picture: Amy Paton

A parking permit scheme across the Great Ocean Road led by councils would resolve issues associated with the tourist spot’s spike in popularity, Polwarth MP Richard Riordan says.

He said the region needed to “get real” and work out how to sustainably accommodate the 2.6 million visitors to the region each year.

“We’ve got no toilets, we’ve got unsafe roadways, we’ve got our little beach hamlets being trashed two to three hours a day when the hordes all arrive and we’re doing nothing about it,” he said.

“We’ve got federal and state governments spending millions promoting this area. We now have more visitors than the Great Barrier Reef and we’re behaving like a bunch of amateurs on this.”

The MP is proposing the Corangamite, Colac Otway and Surf Coast shires implement a parking permit system that would fund improved infrastructure around popular tourist sites including the Twelve Apostles, while ensuring the money stays in the region.

“We need a situation where the buses park at designated spots … (with) good, safe parking and clean, modern toilets that are well-plumbed, sustainable and kept up to scratch so we’re giving our visitors value for money,” Mr Riordan said.

He said residents would be exempt from permits, which could be $20 per bus passenger and $10 per private vehicle, and overnight visitors would receive a refund.

The average Great Ocean Road visitor stays less than 40 minutes and spends 18 cents.