Legislation to create the new Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority (GORCAPA) has now passed both houses of parliament. This authority will assume control of all public lands between the Great Ocean Road (GOR) and the coast.

It extends from just east of Torquay (at Point Impossible) through to Allansford (east of Warrnambool). GORCAPA will also assume control of the Marine National Parks at Point Addis and the Twelve Apostles.

gorcapaThe grey area shown above falls under the new authority

GORCAPA will have its headquarters in Torquay, the current headquarters of the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC), with district offices in Apollo Bay and Port Campbell. Currently there are 11 different Crown land managers along the GOR and a selling point for the new authority according to the Victorian Government, is that the rationalisation will produce a more coordinated and sustainable approach to land and visitor management.

The government has given an undertaking that all staff working for GORCC and OCC will retain their jobs, conditions and working locations so they, in a sense, neither win nor lose. Parks Victoria will retain responsibility for broadacre parks management and will manage services to the new authority for its field operations. This role for Parks is important in areas such as the Eumeralla mountain bike area; while the land will move into the new authority, we can only presume management will stay the responsibility of Parks.

On the face of it, holistic management of this diverse and beautiful area will be a good thing. It is to be expected, however, there will be pros and cons in the process and it will take time to work them out. For example, the objectives of the plan include such things as increasing partnerships with traditional owners and protection of unique habitats. It also includes growing ‘the local, state and national visitation economies’. Some objectives will work well together but others may need to be balanced against each other and obviously there will be competing interests. It will be important for ANGAIR members to stay tuned to the issues as they present.

If you wish to read the GOR Action Plan, which includes finer-scale maps than the one above, a copy is available here: https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0026/394271/GreatOceanRoad_ActionPlan.pdf

 

Patrick Flanagan

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