COWES resident Peter McMahon has a solution to the Bass Coast Shire’s financial woes, which could also ease the feelings of neglect felt by many residents of the Island.
The solution – to charge visitors a toll for crossing the Phillip Island Bridge – could raise much-needed revenue.
The idea seems simple – build appropriate infrastructure and have it controlled by the likes of CityLink provider, Transurban.
And although there may be some doubters, Mr McMahon believes it is possible.
“They’ve done it in Sydney, they’ve done it in Melbourne, it’s the way they want to do all the major new roads in Victoria, why can’t it be used down here to drive some revenue?” he said.
“The State Government tells us what a fantastic place Phillip Island is, so why not help to further it along by providing revenue that could be raised with a toll?
“All the tourists are coming to the Island and it’s a way of getting infrastructure money without hitting the rest of the shire.”
Ratepayers would be exempt from toll charges under the proposal, and with an estimated 60,000 to 70,000 visitors on Phillip Island over the Christmas period, there is money to be made.
Mr McMahon said if it was to go ahead, all revenue must be fed into Phillip Island.
He said it makes the quest for infrastructure such as an aquatic centre more realistic.
“Yes, there would be money taken out for the operators,” he said.
“It’s another form of helping the government out by not having to put their hands in their limited purse. The user pays for the privilege of going to the number one tourist attraction in Victoria and the number two in Australia, and everybody’s a winner in that we get the infrastructure that we need.
“I think it is possible but it means people need to work together. One of the biggest problems we have is people in high places can’t work together.”