Phillip Island Can't Miss the Boat - Car Ferry Required from Cowes to Stony Point

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January 2018

Phillip Island Can't Miss This Boat - Car Ferry Required for Cowes - Stony Point

Dear Minister, Staffers, Councillors and Associates,

We are residents, business owners, visitors and investors of Phillip Island and we would like to offer our in principle support for the Car Ferry proposal which is currently being investigated to operate from Cowes to Stony Point. The recently issued Bass Coast Shire Council discussion paper (available at http://bit.ly/2DuCcRi ) provides the necessary statistical support for this petition.

The opportunities this car ferry offers to the Island are varied and many. In summary:

Tourism Connectivity: Not only does it offer visitors to Victoria a world class touring route extending from the Great Ocean Road through to Queenscliff and to Sorrento through the Mornington Peninsula and then the missing link to Phillip Island by car ferry - but there is then the option of travelling further to Wilson's Promontory and beyond (and by extension, Sydney and further afield). Phillip Island would no longer be a 'one-way' destination, but instead the new Gateway to Bass Coast and beyond. In fact, Phillip Island would then feature as a destination of part of one of the longest vehicle touring routes in the world. A reliable link from Cowes to Stony Point also permits access to Melbourne bound trains: something also to be supported for the benefit of local and regional intrastate tourism.

Increased Spending by Visitors: Even on a medium demand scenario, an estimated $18.85 million dollars is expected to be generated as a direct benefit of the proposed ferry operation by the visitors frequenting Phillip Island. A direct benefit to the local business community well worth considering.

Increased Employment: This increased visitor opportunity is predicted to result in greater employment opportunities (123 additional full time employment opportunities) both directly from the development, construction and operation of the service, and indirectly to the tourism and hospitality providers: the second largest industry in Bass Coast Shire, along with other varied indiustries. 

Emergency Services & Crisis Management: The access and egress in relation to emergency services is yet another positive for this proposal. Especially during peak visitation to Phillip Island and the Mornington Peninsula. The one and only bridge on to the Island has been the subject of closure due to traffic accidents in recent times. This has always been a concern. Having only one way on (and one way off) one of the country's most visited destinations - especially in these days of political volatility- It is worrisome to say the least. Imagine an urgent evacuation when the Island is at it's peak of 80,000 - 100,000 visitors trying to escape via a single two-lane road and one bridge...

Future development of our youth: Perhaps most importantly, this proposed ferry link ensures our youth who may currently be considering leaving Cowes and Phillip Island for study and professional development would have a real, affordable alternative to study and train in some of the best facilities our state has to offer and return to Phillip Island - with their knowledge and skillsets. Retaining these skills,  knowledge and insight on Our Island is one of the most beneficial outcomes of all from the Ferry proposal. Most importantly, this opportunity  provides potential for our young people to be gainfully employed on the Island - as opposed to having to head elsewhere.

People actually DO want it: The recently issued discussion paper highlights the need for this ferry to be put in place and shows consumer demand constitutes a viable public/private sector collaborative investment worth pursuing. The response data to the first consultation process highlights almost 90% support from responding businesses and over 70% from residents. In addition it shows the proposed connection will benefit public and private sectors, see increased investment, a substantial increase in direct employment opportunities and a great tourism draw card for one of the State's most iconic regions.

Regrettably, a small number within the community do not share this sense of growth and keen optimism to see Phillip Island evolve into more than a 'dead-end-destination'. Whilst there are many questions still to be answered, and much work to be done to ensure the proposal is deployed with care and attention to meet community expectations, we seek to reaffirm that there is indeed a majority of the community that see Phillip Island as one of Australia's great tourism destinations worthy of investment.

This car ferry is an essential investment in Phillip Island's future, and we seek your support to make sure we do not miss the boat.



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