- The state government is moving to acquire private farmland opposite the Twelve Apostles.
- The acquisition is part of a plan to deliver a tourism development at the coastal attraction.
- It is not clear how much the government is proposing to spend on the acquisition.
The state government is preparing to compulsorily acquire farmland opposite the Twelve Apostles to make way for a $108 million tourism development that will include a new visitor centre, car park and walking trails.
The owner of the Princetown property is using the site as the base for a helicopter tours business and grazing sheep, but was recently informed by the state government of its plans to acquire the site.
Tourists at the Twelve Apostles. Credit:Joe Armao
The government refused to disclose how much it intends to spend on buying the 32-hectare property.
The Nesseler family has owned the land since the 1990s and owner Richard Nesseler had plans for a private tourism development on the land.
Nesseler declined to comment on the compulsory acquisition.
The government’s plans for the tourism redevelopment includes a new “Twelve Apostles visitor experience centre”, but the project will also include a temporary events space, landscaping and gardens, visitor shuttle and new access roads.
The Twelve Apostles is one of Victoria’s most popular tourism attractions.Credit:Wyn Hughes
Liberal MP Richard Riordan, whose electorate takes in the land, took aim at the compulsory acquisition in a speech to the Victorian parliament, arguing the state’s west was desperate for investment.
“We are neglected in our healthcare. Our roads are universally considered the worst roads in the state of Victoria,” he said.
Riordan said the Nesseler family had tried for 10 years to build a visitor centre at the site.
“They currently run a very successful tourist business in the Port Campbell helicopter business. They live and breathe that community.”
Corangamite Shire Mayor Ruth Gstrein said the community needed a new visitor centre to encourage tourists to stay longer in the area.
She said many people arrived in coaches to take photos at the coastal attraction and then left, providing little economic benefit to the community.
“We’re trying to get people to lengthen their stay in the area,” Gstrein said.
The government was contacted for comment.
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