GOR action plan

Introducing the Great Ocean Road Action Plan

This area is so special that we are protecting it with its own legislation, its own coast and parks authority, and its own planning framework.


Video transcript (DOCX, 12.5 KB)

Contact us

For more information contact us:

greatoceanroad.actionplan@delwp.vic.gov.au

Barwon South West Region
Department Environment, Land, Water and Planning
30–38 Little Malop Street Geelong 3220

Engage Victoria

Great Ocean Road history

The 243-kilometre, National Heritage listed, Great Ocean Road is one of the world's most scenic and iconic coastal touring routes.

Its limestone cliffs, rainforest, shipwreck history and world class-surfing breaks make the Great Ocean Road one of Australia’s most popular destinations for visitors, and Victoria’s most significant tourism asset.

The road connected isolated communities when it was constructed between 1919 and 1932 by returned servicemen to honour their fellow soldiers and sailors from World War one.

The coastal and forested landscapes along the road are of high cultural, ecological and economic importance to the Wadawurrung and Eastern Maar people who have known this country, and cared for it, since the beginning.

Scientific importance

The coastline includes rare dinosaur fossil sites, the best-known being Dinosaur Cove.

Fossils collected from numerous sites along the coast continue to provide important scientific information.

Elements impacting the Great Ocean Road

Like many international tourist destinations, the Great Ocean Road is under threat from:

  • increasing visitor numbers
  • environmental forces
  • impacts of climate change.

When combined, these elements have a negative impact on the beaches, cliffs, plants, animals and on both the day to day and long-term operation of the road.

If left unchecked, these threats could destroy this precious part of our state and impact on the liveability of local communities.

Governance of the Great Ocean Road

Today, the Great Ocean Road governance arrangements involve many different organisations across a range of jurisdictions.

There are 30 public entities with accountabilities including:

  • strategy development and implementation:
  • land-use planning
  • management and administration
  • infrastructure delivery
  • asset maintenance
  • emergency management
  • investment facilitation
  • destination promotion and brand stewardship.

This includes 11 different Crown land managers with responsibility for managing the coastal foreshore, public open spaces and parklands across the Great Ocean Road.

Great Ocean Road Taskforce

The Victorian Government established the independently chaired Great Ocean Road Taskforce on 14 September 2017 to review the effectiveness of current governance arrangements and to make recommendations to strengthen protection of the landscape setting, improve the visitor experience, provide greater certainty in land-use planning and attract investment proposals that will benefit tourists and local communities.

The taskforce is independently co-chaired by the Hon Peter Batchelor and the Hon Terry Mulder. Its membership includes representatives of the Traditional Owners, tourism and coastal management and local government.

The taskforce conducted the first independent assessment of the management and oversight of the entirety of the Great Ocean Road region.

The co-chairs submitted their final report with 26 recommendations in August 2018. View the Co-chairs Final Report (PDF, 13.3 MB) or Co-chairs Final Report (accessible version) (DOCX, 3.4 MB).

Great Ocean Road Taskforce Terms of Reference (PDF, 283.6 KB)

Membership

Members include:

  • Independent co-chairs: Hon Peter Batchelor and Hon Terry Mulder.

Nominees of the Traditional Owners of Country:

  • Wadawurrung: Ms Corrina Eccles (Manager Geelong Office) and Mr Paul Davis (General Manager)
  • Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation: Mr Jamie Lowe (CEO) and
    Mr Jason Mifsud (Chair).

Members with expertise and experience in tourism and coastal management, and understand the key issues relating to the governance of the Great Ocean Road:

  • Mr Wayne Kayler-Thomson,
    Chair of Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism
  • Ms Diane James, AM,
    former Chair of the Victorian Coastal Council for over a decade
  • Ms Elaine Carbines, AM
    Chief Executive Officer of G21 - The Geelong Region Alliance.

The CEOs of the five Local Government Authorities along the Great Ocean Road:

  • Surf Coast Shire
  • Colac Otway Shire
  • Corangamite Shire
  • Warrnambool City Council
  • Moyne Shire.

External resources

The work of the taskforce will build on prior work undertaken in the:

Great Ocean Road Region Strategy 2004

Shipwreck Coast Master Plan 2015

Strategic Master Plan for the Great Ocean Road Region Visitor Economy 2015-2025

It is also to draw on the experience of cooperative efforts during the Wye River Bushfire Reconstruction process.

The iconic coast and parks along the Great Ocean Road are so special, and so important to Victoria, that dedicated, place-based management arrangements are being established:

  • Stand-alone legislation that recognises and protects the iconic landscapes along the Great Ocean Road as the ‘one integrated and living entity’ and makes the management of the region by responsible entities publicly accountable
  • a dedicated (statutory) coast and parks management agency with an independent, skills-based board, to manage – and be publicly accountable for – protection of the environment, sustainable visitation and delivery of government investments
  • a new overarching planning framework enshrined in legislation that has a long term and holistic outlook for the length of the Great Ocean Road to provide direction to localised and/or functional planning
  • a better planning approvals process that secures the regions prosperity and liveability.

The Great Ocean Road Action Plan is guided by five objectives that were developed with community input (during a taskforce review of governance arrangements in 2018):

  • Facilitate Traditional Owner self-determination
  • Protect the ecological and landscape integrity of coastal and marine environments
  • Protect distinctive areas and landscapes
  • Grow the local, state and national visitation economies
  • Modernise governance

Great Ocean Road Action Plan

Related projects:

Legislation

Legislation to enable and give long lasting effect to the management reforms outlined in the Great Ocean Road Action Plan was split into two bills.

The first bill established a stand-alone Act, the Great Ocean Road and Environs Protection Act 2020 (Act) which commenced on 1 December 2020:

  • recognising the state significance of the Great Ocean Road and its landscapes
  • strengthens the involvement of Traditional Owners in the governance of the coast and parks
  • establishing the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority as an entity able to be appointed as a committee of management for coast and parks along the Great Ocean Road
  • provides for the development and implementation of an overarching planning framework for the region; and
  • requires dedicated environmental reporting for this special part of our state.

The second bill established the Great Ocean Road and Environs Protection Amendment Act 2021 and commenced on 1 September 2022:

  • making the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority into a dedicated park manager for the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks
  • assigning the Authority responsibility for managing Crown land reserves and National Park land within the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks
  • allowing the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority to retain funds it generates that would otherwise be paid into consolidated revenue and to use those funds for any of its purpose and functions.
  • requiring increased  engagement of local communities in the stewardship of the Great Ocean Road coast and parks.

Note that the legislation will not alter the underlying management tenure and conservation objectives of any national parks areas for which the Authority assumes management responsibility.

View or download the Great Ocean Road and Environ Protection Act 2020:

Great Ocean Road and Environs Protection Act 2020

Great Ocean Road and Environs Protection Amendment Bill 2021

Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority

A dedicated public land and parks manager, the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority, has been established with the primary purpose of protecting and managing visitation of the Great Ocean Road coast and parks.

The Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority is established by the Great Ocean Road and Environs Protection Act 2020 and commenced operations on 1 December 2020.

The Authority was initially appointed as the committee of management for the coastal reserves formerly managed by Great Ocean Road Coast Committee and Otway Coast Committee. Over the next few years, the Authority will expand its functions and scale up its operations in order to take on responsibility for managing public land and parks within the Great Ocean Road coast and parks by 1 November 2025.

Visit the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority website

Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority Board

The inaugural Board and Chair of the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority was appointed following a public competitive recruitment process.

  • Ms Libby Mears (Chair)
  • Mr Peter Dorling (Deputy Chair)
  • Associate Professor Dr Daniel lerodiaconou
  • Mr David Pope
  • Mr Douglas Humann AM
  • Mr Jason Mifsud
  • Ms Christine Wyatt
  • Ms Jenny McMahon
  • Ms Jodie Leonard
  • Ms Sarah Eccles
  • Ms Terry Bracks AM

Transfer of Crown land management responsibilities

DELWP is working closely with the Authority, Parks Victoria, five councils, and other committees of management to plan and prepare for a smooth transfer of land management responsibilities over the next three years. A consistent approach to land and asset management transfers is being developed with the Authority and current land managers. This approach involves extensive mapping of cultural, social, environmental and economic values and uses, as well as capturing the community interest and local significance attached to each parcel and asset.

All leases, licenses and permits granted by current Crown land managers will continue in their current form, and are not altered by the change in management arrangements (other than the name of the land manager).

Councils can continue to support community groups, facilities and the environment of public open spaces and local community infrastructure.

The public land currently managed by the Authority can viewed on their website.

Background

Great Ocean Road Strategic Framework Plan

Lorne Beach

The Great Ocean Road Strategic Framework Plan will replace the Great Ocean Road Region Strategy (2004) which was prepared to manage land use and transport growth demands for the following 20 years. Great Ocean Road Region Strategy (planning.vic.gov.au)

The Framework Plan will

  • provide the strategic direction for the future use of land and sustainable economic development across the region
  • identify areas for protection within the region
  • guide sustainable visitation within the region by providing for a regional policy for visitor management
  • guide planning and investment relating to visitor facilities and infrastructure in the Great Ocean Road region

To read past community feedback on the aspirations to be incorporated into the Framework Plan, please visit the Community Views tab.

The community has been involved in shaping management reforms.

Consultation to date is outlined below. Future community consultation activities will be promoted through Engage Victoria.

March to April 2018: Governance of the Great Ocean Road

The co-chairs adopted an issue and opportunities-led approach to examining the current governance arrangements for the Great Ocean Road and its landscapes – including the policies, legislation and regulation, institutional arrangements, funding, infrastructure and project delivery.

An initial issues paper, Governance of the Great Ocean Road Region Issues (PDF, 4.7 MB) was developed by the taskforce in consultation with a project reference group and key stakeholders.

The governance of the Great Ocean Road Region Issues paper was publicly released on 21 March 2018 to promote discussion and seek feedback on opportunities to improve the oversight and management of the Great Ocean Road and its landscapes.

The issues paper was available for public comment for six weeks. The taskforce consulted widely (with 21 briefings, listening posts and open house sessions), and the community provided overwhelming feedback in conversations with 780 people and through 570 submissions, that a new management model and greater environmental protection is needed.

Community views one: Governance of the Great Ocean Road Region (PDF, 4.1 MB)

October 2018: Great Ocean Road Action Plan

Following the release of the Great Ocean Road Action Plan, a second phase of community engagement was undertaken with Great Ocean Road communities to outline the Great Ocean Road Action Plan and how their feedback (March-April 2018) had shaped it.

The preferences of local communities were sought on the design of future community involvement in the development of the Great Ocean Road strategic framework plan. The vast majority of people requested face-to-face and online forums, better promotion of community sessions and plenty of advance notice.

Community views 2: Great Ocean Road Action Plan October 2018 (PDF, 978.9 KB)

May to August 2019: Community aspirations for the region

The aspirations of the community for the future of the Great Ocean Road region were sought as the first step in developing a vision and long-term objectives (Action 8 in the Great Ocean Road Action Plan).  The vision and objectives are to be given effect through the development of the Strategic Framework Plan.

Feedback was collected from 428 people through intercept surveys, open house sessions, online surveys, and online mapping tools. Participants desire a future with:

  • stronger protection of the natural environment, beaches, distinctive characteristics of coastal towns and surrounding landscapes
  • greater recognition and celebration of the local Aboriginal history and culture with greater involvement of the Traditional Owners in the storytelling process
  • vibrant coastal townships along the Great Ocean Road distinguished by their own unique character and modest, thoughtful development.
  • environmentally sustainable visitation with a focus on sustainable transport and energy, and building climate resilient communities.

The next step is for DELWP to work with the Traditional Owner groups and responsible entities to understand their values and objectives. A consultation draft vision and (long-term) objectives for the Great Ocean Road Region will be released in 2021.

Community views 3: Aspirations for the region May to August 2019 (PDF, 4.9 MB)

November to December 2019: Community involvement and funding options

The action plan includes actions to establish an independent statutory authority to manage coastal Crown land in the Great Ocean Road region.

To support implementation of these actions the community was asked how they would like to be involved with the new authority in the future, and for views on possible funding options to support the authority’s operations.

Consultation summarised is from the community, stakeholders were not targeted for this round of consultation.

Community views 4: Great Ocean Road Authority community involvement and funding options (PDF, 169.9 KB)

Community views: responses and submissions

Please view the submissions and surveys of interest to you, submissions have been listed in alphabetical order by the name of the organisation.

Responses and submissions

Taskforce

Action Plan

Community views

Community updates

Legislation

Technical resources

External resources

The implementation of the Great Ocean Road Action Plan will build on work undertaken in:

It is also to draw on the experience of cooperative efforts during the Wye River Bushfire Reconstruction process.

Page last updated: 27/10/22