For the Bass Coast community, the growth of tourism is a major strategic focus and the ability to attract more tourists underpins the transport infrastructure needs. Our community consultation will make a real and positive difference so we are asking for your support to join our campaign!
Introduction to the “Bass Coast Road Upgrades”
Phillip Island on the Bass Coast (the Island) is one of Victoria’s most popular choices for tourists, holiday makers, permanent residents, businesses and the staging of major sporting events. It offers particular transport challenges due to the Islands’ single point of access / egress, the seasonal variation in activity, and the requirement for protection of the natural environment.
Project Description and Proposal
The proposed outcome is to improve access and safety to the arterial road network into and out of Bass Coast including Phillip Island road corridor. The proposal includes renewal of local roads and bridges in Bass Coast to continue to service agricultural industry.
Phillip Island is one of Australia’s premier tourist destinations. In 2016–17, tourism (both direct and indirect) was worth $407 million to the Phillip Island economy (20.3% of Gross Regional Product). Phillip Island Road carries in the order of 10,000 Vehicles per day during typical non-school holiday periods, and almost 14,000 vehicles per day during peak holiday seasons. Growth rates for the Phillip Island Road Corridor has been estimated to be in the order of 4%.
In 2015 Regional Roads Victoria announced a partnership approach with Bass Coast Shire Council for the planning of potential future improvements on Phillip Island Road. The potential improvements involve intersection upgrades on Phillip Island Road at Boys Home Road, Woolamai Beach Road and Back Beach Road. Regional Roads Victoria have commenced treatment for Woolamai Beach Road and Back Beach Road and have sought community input and are proceeding with further planning and design work for projects in San Remo, Surf Beach/Sunderland Bay and Newhaven.
Community engagement has also taken place to improve road and pedestrian safety and car parking on the Bass Highway at the Kilcunda township. Regional Roads Victoria have also conducted community engagement to inform other road safety and access improvements to the Bass Highway between Anderson and Inverloch.
Significant strategic planning work has been completed in order to advocate for funding of the following projects:
• Phillip Island Road, San Remo, Back Beach Road intersection upgrade
• Phillip Island Road, Newhaven road safety and access upgrade – supported by Phillip Island Integrated Transport Study and Phillip Island Visitor Economy Strategy
• Phillip Island road corridor planning
• Bass Highway upgrades – Anderson to Leongatha 56 km
• Stuart Road / Schier Road, Kernot Bridge renewal projects
Existing Conditions and Issues
Bass Coast Shire Council is in a growth phase and currently experiencing on average 2.5% population growth per annum. Wonthaggi is identified as a regional growth area and the town is expected to double in size within the next 25 years. Inverloch and Cape Paterson are experiencing significant growth and are popular tourist destinations. The Bass Highway services Wonthaggi and Inverloch and leads to Cape Paterson and is reaching capacity. The Bass Highway through the Wonthaggi township will not support future demand of freight industry and projected residential growth.
Phillip Island’s only access (by motor vehicle) is along Phillip Island Road. VicRoads funded $3.2M toward corridor planning on the basis of the road having reached capacity for t portions of the year. During peak weekends tailbacks of visitors and locals trying to access and egress from Phillip island can reach 10km in length.
Additionally, many of the abutting side roads face significant access issues to the corridor which provides for risky driver behaviour and emergency access issues.
Wonthaggi is identified as a regional growth area and is expected to double in size within the next 25 years. The Bass Highway through Wonthaggi township will not support future demand of freight industry and projected residential growth.
A number of road upgrade projects have been identified through road corridor planning that has been conducted with significant community engagement. The community feedback has informed planning for upgrade projects on the Bass Highway in Kilcunda and road upgrades between Anderson and Leongatha.
Phillip island is the second most reliant destination on tourism in Australian, the 1st being Uluru in the Northern Territory. 2.4 million people visit Phillip Island every year.
Potential Partnerships Government
Existing industry partnerships include Destination Phillip Island, Destination Gippsland and Phillip Island Nature Parks as well as Bass Coast Shire Council and the Victorian State Government through Regional Roads Victoria (RRV). All intersections are between municipal roads and arterial State roads. Bass Coast Shire Council and VicRoads undertook a joint Investment Logic Map (ILM) exercise in 2015.
Potential Partnership Industries
Phillip Island and,mainland Bass Coast attract 2.4 million visitors per year. The tourism sector will benefit through improved equity of access to Phillip Island attractions, townships and residential estates. Growth is expected to continue in the tourism and events area. Phillip Island hosts many major international sporting events including Moto GP and World Superbikes which will benefit with flow on effects to the local economy. Agricultural industry will benefit with freight efficiencies ensured in order to remain competitive with connections to Melbourne and international markets.
These road upgrade projects have the potential to provide a significant economic boost for Bass Coast businesses via increased transport productivity.
Phillip Island Road has an extensive crash history with 5 Fatalities, 41 Serious injury and 67 Other injury accidents recorded between 2006 and 2018 along just over 20km of the road.
Video survey of the major intersections along the corridor during an Easter long weekend highlighted significant amounts of risky driver behaviour.
Phillip Island Road Corridor planning has attracted significant local community support and engagement as well as extensive support from visitors and holiday home owners. This was highlighted through the community surveys conducted by Regional Roads Victoria and the Bass Coast Shire’s Phillip Island Integrated Transport Study consultation.
A significant cost component of tourism and industrial production is transport of people and product for processing and goods to market. Increased safety and reduced travel times will assist economic and social outcomes for the Gippsland region. The Bass Coast Highway Upgrades will save road users crucial time per journey due to improved traffic flow at major intersections along the route.
Letters of Endorsement
- Mayor of Bass Coast Shire
- Chair of SEATS
- Owner of transport company
- Bass Coast Shire Business Chamber