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Monday, 24 February 2014
Page: 513


Mr WOOD (La Trobe) (11:45): Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, and can I congratulate you on your appointment as deputy speaker. Can I also congratulate the member for Corangamite, who has been a fantastic ambassador for her electorate. This is a fantastic motion that supports her local residents and acknowledges the importance of the Great Ocean Road. I also acknowledge the great work by the member for Wannon, who also has the guardianship of the Great Ocean Road and in particular the Twelve Apostles. As a Victorian, I am very proud of the Abbott government's commitment to the Great Ocean Road. The Prime Minister said he wants to be known as a Prime Minister who builds infrastructure and he is certainly living up to that title. People from around Australia and around the world, and from my electorate of La Trobe, love travelling down the Great Ocean Road. It is a beautiful road with the ocean alongside it.

The Great Ocean Road is the longest war memorial in the world, having been cut out of the cliffs by returned soldiers from the Great War. What a truly inspiring effort by those returned soldiers, and that is what also makes this road so significant. It is one of the most spectacular coastal drives in the world. It is a jewel in the crown for Victoria, attracting seven million tourists each year. And I must give the La Trobe electorate a plug, in particular that Dandenong Ranges, which is also a fantastic tourist destination. Five thousand people travel along parts of the Great Ocean Road each day. That is why I was so pleased in August last year to hear the then opposition leader and now Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaking from Anglesea when he announced the coalition's commitment to this national heritage listed Great Ocean Road. Therefore, I cannot understand why Labor members opposite would oppose funding to a national heritage listed project.

Under the Abbott policy, the Australian government and the Victorian Napthine government are working together to upgrade the Great Ocean Road with a $50 million commitment over five years. The federal government will commit $25 million and the state will commit $25 million. The Abbott government commitment is delivering significant upgrades that include maintenance of bridges and retaining walls, improvements to road safety for motorists and resurfacing roadworks. This upgrade will ensure the Great Ocean Road is safer and able to handle the increasing volumes of traffic.

As mentioned by my colleague the member for Corangamite, consultation sessions have already occurred in Anglesea, Lorne and Apollo Bay. I congratulate the member for Corangamite for listening to her local residents and fighting for this election commitment. It is also very exciting that the member for Corangamite, along with the member for Wannon, has brought forward to this financial year the Abbott government's commitment of $15 million. That means things will get moving very quickly. In November, Victorian Premier Denis Napthine and the then Victorian opposition leader announced a $1.2 million project on the Great Ocean Road at Allansford outside the Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory—the first of many projects to improve this iconic road. Can I also congratulate Warrnambool on their sound and light show. As well, can I congratulate the member for Wannon, who has taken on the position as chair of the coalition's tourism committee.

As part of the commitment of $1.2 million announced on 1 December 2013, two kilometres on the outskirts of Lorne between Stony Creek and the roundabout at Deans Marsh will be sealed. This will see potholes repaired and rough sections of road improved. In December, Prime Minister Tony Abbott again visited Anglesea to announce a $1.8 million upgrade to a section of the Great Ocean Road. This is a fantastic commitment from the Abbott government. We are on the move to rebuild infrastructure not only for Victoria but for all of Australia.