The Unlocking Rural Tourism Strategy seeks to facilitate sustainable tourism development in appropriately located rural areas and assist with the ongoing COVID-19 recovery of our tourism sector. The draft strategy examines real and perceived barriers to investment and where appropriate, recommends their removal.

The draft strategy was originated by officers in response to feedback from various sectors of the community that the current controls in the planning scheme are insufficient to effectively manage tourism proposals outside our townships.

In 2021, Council was awarded a grant to prepare this Strategy by the Victorian Planning Authority given its alignment with the authority’s COVID-19 recovery objectives.

The draft strategy recommends changes to the planning scheme and other processes to help grow our local tourism industry. Council is currently seeking feedback on the draft strategy and a separate process (with further consultation) is required to make any changes to the planning scheme.

In short, the draft strategy recommends:

  • Rezoning all 'Rural Activity Zones' to the 'Farming Zone'
The creation of four 'Rural Tourism Subregions' which identify appropriate tourism uses in each part of the Shire. The subregions are as follows:
    • Phillip Island and San Remo
    • Bass Hinterland
    • Waterline and Bass River
    • Kilcunda to Inverloch Coastline
  • Rewrite Local Planning Policy to incentivise tourism development that contributes to nature conservation and restoration, preservation of heritage or areas with cultural significance as well as the enhancement of other rural industries in addition to agriculture.

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Summary Video - presented by Austin Cram, Principal Strategic Planner