12 Jul Port Campbell extension knocked back
Popes Timboon and the Corangamite Shire have vowed to keep fighting for a public transport extension to Port Campbell after the State Government rejected the proposal.
Public Transport Victoria has informed Popes Timboon that the proposed Port Campbell extension of its existing contract between Camperdown and Timboon was “not a priority”.
Operations Manager David Pope said he was gutted.
“We already have 28 public bus services operating every week between Timboon and Camperdown, via Cobden, and we put a strong case forward to extend those services further south to provide an important link to Port Campbell,” he said.
“We don’t agree that this isn’t a priority for the region and we will reapply and continue to lobby for the service extension.
“I am disappointed for the community and it frustrates me not to have a positive outcome, but I’m very grateful to everyone who advocated for the extension.”
The proposal received a 95 per cent tick of approval in a community survey and drew support from Corangamite Shire, Advance Camperdown, Timboon Action, the Port Campbell Progress Group, Twelve Apostles Tourism and Business Association, Progressing Cobden and the Camperdown-Timboon Rail Trail Management Committee.
Corangamite Shire South West Ward Councillor Neil Trotter said connecting the coast to the hinterland with public transport was important for the community and its visitors.
“We continue to be of the view that a public transport connection is long overdue in Port Campbell and we are disappointed the Government has not supported the proposal,” he said.
“Extending the current service to Port Campbell would provide an important tourism and community link – especially as the service connects with the V/Line trains running through Camperdown.
“The uptake of public transport in the Corangamite Shire is increasing well above the state average, so this extension makes strategic sense and we will continue to advocate for it.”
Mr Pope said the decision by Public Transport Victoria seemed to be inconsistent with a range of Government strategies and growth plans for the economic vitality of the region.
“We are constantly told by Government that our towns need to gain greater benefit and improve their yield from the number of visitors Port Campbell and the Twelve Apostles attract and yet a service to transport people into the hinterland is refused,” he said.
“The Government’s own Strategic Master Plan for the Great Ocean Road Regional Visitor Economy cites ‘increased transport options both to and within the region, including the growth of air, rail and bus services, and private tour operators’ as a key issue.
“We will keep on putting our case forward until we get this outcome for our communities.”