My adjournment matter tonight is also for the Minister for Roads, and it concerns Regional Roads Victoria’s plans for the construction of a roundabout on the Great Ocean Road at Nelson Street in Apollo Bay.

This proposal is estimated to cost $3.5 million and the Apollo Bay community will lose 22 metres of their precious foreshore.

Regional Roads Victoria are the responsible authority, but they failed to properly consult with the Apollo Bay community about this proposed roundabout and most locals barely knew anything about it until it appeared in the media.  Their failure to engage the community in this significant change has been breathtaking. They claim that they have received a 70 per cent approval rating; however, they refuse to disclose the data to justify this statistic. Their information session held in the local RSL facility attracted about a dozen locals but adjacent residents were not invited.

Following media coverage and pressure from the Colac Otway shire, Regional Roads Victoria were forced to hold two more consultation sessions but provided limited opportunity for comment on the Regional Roads Victoria options, and they were certainly not interested in alternative suggestions that would improve the traffic flow without resorting to wholesale destruction of an iconic part of Apollo Bay.

Regional Roads Victoria dubiously cite 'safety concerns’ about the intersection, but there is no crash data to justify such an extensive change.

A more significant problem is the lack of adequate signage for Twelve Apostles tourists in the area. This proposal, involving the relocation of a famous and iconic war memorial plus the elimination of precious car parking space, is overkill in the extreme.

Some simple, less expensive options would improve traffic flow and ensure safety. Repairs to coastal road erosion and dangerous intersections are far more important to locals and tourists alike, rather than a roundabout endorsed by bureaucrats unfamiliar with local concerns.

The action I seek is for the minister to ensure Regional Roads Victoria releases the community consultation data that supposedly reveals 70 per cent support for this project, outline what the government is doing to ensure the Great Ocean Road is kept functional and inform the Apollo Bay community of the crash data for this intersection that justifies a $3.5 million taxpayer-funded spend.

4 June 2019