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Monday, 17 October 2016
Page: 2161

Ms HENDERSON (Corangamite) (10:57): On a day when the Great Ocean Road is again closed between Wye River and Separation Creek because of the threat of landslide, I once again call on the Victorian government to match our $25 million contribution to the Great Ocean Road. It is absolutely astounding that the Victorian government led by Daniel Andrews has turned its back on what is a very significant tourist asset not just for Victoria but for Australia. In the budget and also in April of this year we announced another $25 million on top of the $25 million that was announced in 2013 and matched by the previous state Liberal government, and yet from Daniel Andrews we have seen zero contribution to this upgrade, which is so vital for tourism, for road safety and for the wonderful Great Ocean Road communities which I represent in this incredible part of the world.

The Great Ocean Road is Victoria's most valuable asset. It generates almost $800 million in incremental tourist spending. The Australian Grand Prix is $42 million and the Australian Open is only $240 million. And yet we see again, with the road under incredible pressure not just because of the floods and the landslides—in excess of 150—but also, of course, in the wake of the Christmas Day bushfire in Wye River and Separation Creek. This has put these communities under incredible economic strain, under incredible pressure, and I have worked very closely with the Wye River and Separation Creek communities. We are very proud, of course, that we have made a contribution of $3.89 million under the National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements, but the fact of the matter is that the Victorian government needs to pull its weight.

I think we have seen that, with the Tourism Demand-Driver Infrastructure Program, over four years the Turnbull government is providing $43.1 million to state and territory governments for tourism infrastructure. $7.2 million has gone to Victoria, and yet we see the Victorian government turning its back on the most basic tourism infrastructure that is required along the Great Ocean Road.

At Eastern View, where there is the official archway for the beginning of the Great Ocean Road, there are not even basic toilet facilities. In places like Beijing and Shanghai, there are magnificent posters calling the people of China to come to our wonderful part of the world—and some 500,000 do just that, taking a day trip, part of the five million tourists who visit the Great Ocean Road every year—and yet at Eastern View there are not even the most basic facilities. So I think the time is ripe for our government to take over this funding. The Victorian government is failing us on tourism, and we need to take charge of this very important fund.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Buchholz ): In accordance with standing order 193, the time for constituency statements has concluded.