CORANGAMITE Shire Council’s controversial decision to push for new tourist development along the coast has the backing of Premier Ted Baillieu.
Nanjing Night Net

The council’s decision, made almost a month ago, drew statewide attention yesterday and Mr Baillieu told ABC Radio the state government would look favourably on the plan to rezone farming land.

Mr Baillieu said there was a shortage of accommodation around some key tourism facilities and the developments could balance economic and environmental needs.

“Obviously you would do this in a very sensitive way,” he said. “I think that’s what’s evident in other jurisdictions. It can be done well, and it can be done sensitively.

“And if they can do it in other jurisdictions, I would have thought we can do it in Victoria.” Mayor Matt Makin said given the projected growth along the Great Ocean Road precinct, the planning amendment would ensure there was infrastructure to meet the demand.

“Failing to do so would have a more significant impact on the environment,” he said. “This is a long-term strategy that will hopefully come to fruition long after I’m gone and will hopefully help shore up jobs and the future of the region.”

Cr Makin said Baillieu’s comments signified that the state government was supportive of economic development in rural and regional areas.

“Ultimately we don’t want to put pressure on their decision, but that language is quite encouraging,” he said. “This has drawn a lot of media coverage lately and it signifies the importance of protecting the asset which is the Great Ocean Road precinct.”

The council rejected an independent planning panel’s recommendation to abandon the rezoning of sites on farmland west of Port Campbell and at the Peterborough airstrip, instead citing the need for future accommodation facilities.

The shire has earmarked land west of Port Campbell as a suitable site for a four-star resort while the Peterborough airstrip has potential for “aviation-related accommodation”.

Other sites given the green light for rezoning include Camp Cooriemungle, land on the banks of Lake Purrumbete, Timboon’s Berryworld, Glenormiston College and at Mount Elephant.

Land rejected as unsuitable included the Loch Ard Bed and Breakfast and sites on the Great Ocean Road at Princetown and near the Great Ocean Walk at Princetown east. The amendment has been referred to the Minister of Planning Matthew Guy for approval.

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