Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Heritage listing makes Great Ocean Road even greater

Media release
7 April 2011

The iconic Great Ocean Road will be placed on Australia's National Heritage List, Heritage Minister Tony Burke, announced today.

Visiting the Great Ocean Road, Mr Burke said due to its extraordinary historic and natural significance to the nation, the Gillard Government had added the Great Ocean Road including the Twelve Apostles and world-famous Bells Beach, to Australia's National Heritage List.

The Great Ocean Road becomes the 92nd place on a list of Australia's most valued natural, Indigenous and historic heritage sites.

It will become one of only 20 of the nation's most iconic coastal places including the Great Barrier Reef, Bondi Beach, Point Nepean, Kurnell Peninsula and Shark Bay to achieve National Heritage listing.

"The Great Ocean Road is one of the most powerful, spectacular and distinctive landscapes in Australia and the nation's most famous coastal drive," Mr Burke said.

"The Government has recognised that due to its extraordinary historic and natural significance, the Great Ocean Road and the area that includes the Twelve Apostles and Bells Beach have outstanding heritage value to Australia. The area's place on the National Heritage List is deserved.

"The Great Ocean Road's addition to Australia's National Heritage List is a fitting tribute to the returned servicemen who built the road, often under difficult conditions, and a celebration of its cultural and historical significance to our nation.

"Last year, more than 7.5 million visitors from Victoria, interstate and overseas experienced the Great Ocean Road's stunning natural beauty, seeing the Twelve Apostles, walking through the Otways, swimming and surfing at its many beaches or staying in the coastal towns along the way.

" The Great Ocean Road was constructed as a memorial of the war service and sacrifice of Victoria's First World War servicemen and women. More than 3000 returned servicemen worked on the construction of the road for 13 years from 1919 to 1932.

"Its construction provided long term employment for returned servicemen, recognised their sacrifice at war and for generations has enabled people from across the world to enjoy this spectacular coastline," Mr Burke said.

"I am delighted to announce this listing one week ahead of the first-ever Australian Heritage Week which is about recognising at a local and national level the stunning heritage areas across our nation."

The National Heritage listing means the heritage values of the Great Ocean Road, including Bells Beach and the Twelve Apostles, will be protected under national environmental law.

The Great Ocean Road is also one of Australia's 12 most iconic landscapes currently part of the National Landscapes program.

A partnership between Tourism Australia and Parks Australia, this initiative builds on the natural link between tourism and conservation to promote Australia's world-class visitor experiences to deliver environmental, social and economic outcomes for each region.

The National Heritage List recognises and protects Australia's most valued natural, Indigenous and historic heritage sites. Places listed in the National Heritage List are protected under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.