A RE-ELECTED Morrison Government would allocate $6 million towards the protection of Bells Beach, the Otways and the Great Ocean Road.
The announcement came less than a day after Labor’s Corangamite candidate Libby Coker announced that if the Labor Party was to form government, it would pour $3 million in pursuit of a near identical initiative.
A statement on behalf of Environment Minister Melissa Price and Liberal Corangamite federal member Sarah Henderson said the funding would be used to deliver “practical projects” that “protect” and “enhance” native plants, wildlife and the coastal environment.
“This iconic, heritage-listed coastal area is renowned for its rugged natural beauty, fossil sites, rock formations and surf culture,” it said.
“We want to protect native fauna in the region such as the hooded plover, southern brown bandicoot, sugar glider and jacky tree dragon.
“We want to restore native flora such as indigenous grass ecosystems, coastal heaths, woodlands and the Anglesea heathlands with its unique orchids.”
If re-elected this Saturday, the Liberals’ funding would be made available to local governments, traditional owners and volunteer groups to deliver “on-ground environment restoration”, which includes the expansion of walking tracks and the installation of fencing.
Funding will be provided from the Environment Restoration Fund announced in the 2019-20 budget, with community consultation playing an “essential part” in developing protection plans.
“This (community consultation) will include seeking advice from stakeholders on whether to initiate the process for the Great Ocean Road, the Otways and Bells Beach and its scenic environs to be nominated for inclusion on the World Heritage List and whether a jointly managed Commonwealth-State National Park could be suitable for the region.”
Ms Coker’s announcement on Tuesday May 14 detailed the same prospects and included plans to protect the Twelve Apostles.