More access to Victorian waterways needed to meet demands of growing population.
The Boating Industry Association of Victoria (BIAV) has called on the Victorian Government to encourage private investment in coastal infrastructure to cope with increasing demand for access to the state's waterways.
The BIAV said the government needs to create a Blue Infrastructure Fund to cope with the long-term demand for access to water by Victoria’s rapidly growing population and to protect the state's most valuable natural and economic assets, Port Phillip and Western Port Bays.
Speaking at a Geelong Boating Tourism Forum at Deakin University, Steven Potts, BIAV CEO, said Geelong has all of the natural waterfront advantages to become a ‘magnet city’ for boating tourism and lifestyle.
The proposed Nelson Cove 4,000 berth marina residential lifestyle and sporting precinct, is forecast by MacroPlan, one of Australia’s leading property economists, to add $20 billion of economic activity over 19 years to Geelong.
“This should be recognised as a major generational once in a lifetime opportunity to boost the Geelong economy, create a major boating tourism destination facility and, more importantly, thousands of jobs over the lifetime of the project and beyond.”
The BIAV has predicted that the projected increase of the population in the central coast area of Victoria, including Port Phillip and Western Port, from 4.6 million to nearly 8 million by 2050, will see a doubling of boating activities which will boost Victoria’s ‘blue economy'.
Roger Grant, executive director, Tourism Greater Geelong & the Bellarine said, “The co-ordination of tourism and boating activities such as fishing, water skiing, sailing and scuba diving can maximise employment and investment opportunities.
“Major tourism lifestyle development with waterfront locations are always popular and boating activities through local clubs such as the Royal Geelong Yacht Club, who organise the Festival of Sails which attracts thousands of visitors to Geelong.”
The BIAV and Tourism Greater Geelong & the Bellarine has agreed to set up regular discussions on relevant issues to boost investment in boating related tourism.
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