MEMBER for Polwarth Richard Riordan doesn’t want any funds directed to infrastructure at the Twelve Apostles until there is a complete rethink on management of the tourist attraction.
Mr Riordan’s comments follow reports of congestion and chaos on the Great Ocean Road, particularly at the Twelve Apostles and Gibson Steps, over the Christmas period. The MP said he didn’t believe Parks Victoria was the best organisation to manage the tourist draw card.
“I think it’s beyond their capabilities and skill set,” he said.
“This is a major natural wonder and it is being managed so poorly.
“I don’t believe the current management structure works.
“I don’t want anyone to commit funds while the management structure is in place.”
Mr Riordan said he wanted a visitor pass introduced to raise revenue which would go back into infrastructure at the Twelve Apostles.
He said he didn’t want to see taxpayer money subsidising the holidays of international travellers.
He said the pass would allow people complete access to the Great Ocean Road.
“It would be similar to if you were going to the snow fields or the Kimberley,” he said.
“The whole thing is sub standard. There is urgent need for reform.
“How do we harness the income from visitors. This needs to be fast-tracked. Visitors are leaving with dollars in their pockets. They’re leaving with an unsatisfactory experience.”
Mr Riordan said he and the shadow minister for environment Nick Wakeling would meet with representatives from Corangamite Shire to discuss with their priorities.
Last week former Mayor of Corangamite Shire, Matt Makin, said both sides of government had failed the Twelve Apostles and renewed calls for a user pay system.
He said the traffic congestion at the tourist icon was nothing new and should not be a big surprise.
“In my view there has been a complete failure of state government,” he said.
Mr Makin said the Shipwreck Coast Master Plan was a worthwhile document with 72 projects identified to alleviate infrastructure problems but the government had contributed less than 10 per cent of the required funding.