Great Ocean Road near-misses prompt fears from Member for Polwarth Richard Riordan that tourism industry could turn ‘deadly’

The Great Ocean Road tourism industry will turn “deadly” if more isn’t done to improve safety standards among international drivers, Member for Polwarth Richard Riordan says.

Mr Riordan told Parliament this week that a number of near-misses on the touring route in recent days had again highlighted the risk some overseas drivers posed.

The busy car park at the Twelve Apostles.

The busy car park at the Twelve Apostles.

“We do not need to ban non-Victorian licence-holders, but we can do more,” he said.

“Currently VicRoads recognises the driving licences from only 27 jurisdictions. All other licence-holders, should they wish to get a Victorian licence, must be retested. With growing hire-drive tourism being encouraged and supported, this is a huge road safety issue.”

Mr Riordan called on the government to make hire car companies use technology like virtual reality to test for basic skills and understanding of the state’s road rules and conditions. 

“Better and more specialised GPS and auto-driving products must be supplied to people taking on the Great Ocean Road's 10-hour round trip,” he said. 

“We cannot turn such a great industry as tourism, one that local and regional communities very much support, into an unnecessarily dangerous and deadly industry that communities do not support. It is easily remedied and can be done so much better,” he said.

It follows a near-miss between police officers and a Hong Kong national who tried to overtake several cars across double lines on the Great Ocean Road last Friday.

Police had another near-miss on Tuesday when a Chinese national failed to give way to an oncoming police car when exiting the Gibson Steps car park.