Ovens Valley MLA Tim McCurdy says the Mount Buffalo Destination Advisory Group may never get a seat on the table with Daniel Andrews, but he’s confident the Victorian premier will support their cause.
Mr McCurdy and MBDAG members Janelle Boynton and David Jacobson met with opposition regional development spokesman Peter Walsh earlier this month.
“It’s been well-received by both government and opposition … it’s really important to be bipartisan,” he said.
“The Environment Minister (Lily D’Ambrosio) needs to sign off on it and then we can start to work with Regional Development Victoria, the premier’s department and the tourism minister.
“The other ask, apart from getting permission to do this on the land, is for a small sum of cash.
“It’s about getting a wage for somebody to lead this project over 18 months and put the flesh on the bones of that vision.
“Then we’re in the position to say, ‘Here’s what it will look like’, and start putting out tenders.”
Ms D’Ambrosio didn’t say when the government would make its response to the advisory group’s proposals public or if funding for a project officer would be committed.
“The future of the Mount Buffalo National Park requires thoughtful consultation and planning with the local community,” she said.
“The next step will be for the community’s vision to be formally provided to the government for further consideration.”
Mr McCurdy said committing a project manager “wasn’t an unreasonable ask” of government, as the funding to develop tourism on the mountain was proposed to come from commercial partnerships.
“I’m not sure the group ever will (meet with Mr Andrews); it’s about the minister advocating on our behalf and the premier and leadership signing it off,” he said.
“If we can get that person who can manage from here … it will probably be 12 months before that person can come up with stage two of the vision.
“If any money comes from the government, it needs to be for maintenance to restore the (chalet) building before the next steps are taken.
“If no one takes ownership, we spend millions on a building that no one is doing anything with.
“If people have skin in the game and have their own dollars in private investment, that’s the way forward.”