Parking fees proposed at some Great Ocean Road sites

July 9, 2024 BY

Land managed by GORCAPA along the Great Ocean Road - including most of Point Danger in Torquay, seen here - could be subject to parking fees under the proposal. Photo: GOOGLE

VISITORS to some public land along the Great Ocean Road would have to pay parking fees under a new proposal from the state Labor Government.

Locals would be exempt from paying for parking under the proposal, which opened for consultation yesterday (Monday, July 8), but it is unknown how this will work in practice.

The new parking fees would apply to the land managed by the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority (GORCAPA), which includes the Twelve Apostles precinct, parts of the Shipwreck Coast, and sites including Taylor Park and most of Point Danger in Torquay, and the entirety of the car parks at the Anglesea SLSC and Lorne SLSC.

According to the Engage Victoria website about the proposal, GORCAPA is “required by law to reinvest funds it raises into enhancing the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks”.

All funds raised would go directly towards the protection of the environment, and maintenance and improvement of visitor facilities and infrastructure such as lookouts, walking trails, barbecues, picnic areas, car parks and toilets.

Visitor parking fees will only be introduced at select sites managed by GORCAPA, with all other parking rules in towns along the coast to be “a matter for the relevant council or land manager”.

Community views will be considered in the design of regulations for the parking fees and parking strategies for the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks land, the website states.

“Locals will be exempt from Visitor Parking Fees in their local community.  During this consultation, we will explore the definition of a ‘local’ to ensure a fair and practical exemption can be implemented.”

There will also be seven drop-in sessions for the community to learn more, with the first to be held in Anglesea on July 19.

“Visitor parking fees at select sites will directly fund the protection of the coast and parks along the Great Ocean Road. It also means that the thousands of visitors to the area each year are helping protect it for future generations to enjoy,” a Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action spokesperson said.

“As locals would know, at high use areas we have seen environmental values damaged and tourist sites and visitation facilities get run down. This change will improve things on the ground and help manage pressures long-term.

“We’re inviting feedback from the community to help shape this change and look forward to hearing what everyone has to say.”

The Opposition has criticised the proposal, describing it as a “beach and sightseeing tax”.

“There is simply no business case that has been offered that tells coastal communities how they will get improved services and amenity. This is just Labor’s way to plug the funding shortfalls,” Polwarth Liberal MP Richard Riordan said.

“The Great Ocean Road region over the past 12 months has seen record hikes in land taxes, new Airbnb taxes, now beach visiting taxes. The tax hit on regional Victoria must stop.

“This tax grab comes at the same time the state continues to cancel promised projects such as the Apollo Bay Recreation Reserve upgrade and the Skenes Creek walk.

“The Allan Labor Government is just using our region as a big new tax pot to fill its budget black holes.”

The first phase of consultation will be open until August 12.

For more information, including the dates and locations of the drop-in sessions head to engage.vic.gov.au/great-ocean-road-visitor-parking-fees


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