By Michael Giles

AHEAD of the last State Election, Daniel Andrews trumpeted an “historic boost for camping in Victoria’s great outdoors”.
And a key aspect of that promise was a pledge to establish a new coastal park along the Bass Coast “linking up the pristine parks and reserves dotted along the popular 40 kilometres of coastline from San Remo to Inverloch”.
(A pity then someone stuffed the view at Kilcunda by allowing six useless wind turbines to ruin such a magnificent coastal vista.)
They said it would “open up the tourism hotspot to campers for the first time, providing a big boost to local businesses”.
Well; hear, hear to that!
There was also a promise of $20 million to make it all happen, extending walking trails and boardwalks, while providing opportunities for more camping, walking, swimming and fishing.
And there’s to be community consultation too about how best to implement the plan, although this is no pie-in-the-sky idea. The legislation to create a new Marine and Coastal Park along the Bass Coast, known as the ‘Yallock-Bulluk Marine and Coastal Park’, was introduced into State Parliament last week.
So, it’s happening.
But it’s up to the community now to ensure there is an appropriate balance between the promise of protection for the pristine parks and reserves while also improving access and a sustainable experience for visitors and locals alike.
Reading the legislation, and it’s not at all clear what the government intends to do beyond ensuring Aquasure will always have access to its desalination infrastructure and South Gippsland Water access to its outfall pipe.
There’s also something in there about mining activities although it’s unclear what all that means.
And there’s nothing at all about coastal erosion.
But surely, here is a chance at last to at least plan for Wonthaggi’s expanding future by opening the town up to the coast by way of boardwalks, maybe a dunes golf course in Baxter’s Wetland and more?
Certainly, protect and enhance the coast’s greatest assets but a few targeted changes to accommodate residential growth and visitor numbers coming from the exploding suburbs in Melbourne’s south east is good planning. Let’s see how this grand undertaking progresses.