Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford met with Northern Grampians Shire Council about the Halls Gap Activation Plan and key projects to strengthen the town centre.
Northern Grampians Shire Council mayor Tony Driscoll said the Grampians region’s significant destination profile meant Halls Gap was among the most tourism-focused villages in the district.
“Halls Gap is considered a primary tourist hub and among one of the key drivers in the regional economy,” he said.
More Australian tourists are visiting the Grampians National Park than ever before, with visitor numbers reaching a 10-year high last year.
State government data showed 915,000 domestic tourists stayed overnight at the park between January and September, 2017, up 24.2 per cent from the same time in 2016.
Visitor numbers also increased by 8.4 per cent a year since 2012.
The Northern Grampians Shire Council adopted the Halls Gap Master Plan 2016 to help lift the tourist town into world class tourist village status and to ensure Halls Gap was prepared for the completion of the Grampians Peaks Trail.
The Master Plan, endorsed by council in December, 2016, identified a number of initiatives for the town in the areas of events and attractions, services and development, the Grampians Peaks Trail and public open space.
Cr Driscoll said the project would focus on creating a more pedestrian focused village centre.
“The plan will also ensure that the best location for the Grampians Peak Trail head is chosen and will address car parking needs associated with the GPT,” he said.
“Specifically the Development Plan will steer future pedestrian access and car parking infrastructure for the Halls Gap Village centre.”
Ms Pulford said the Halls Gap Action Plan also recommended improvements to the Stoney Creek Boardwalk, the Central Park Raised Pedestrian Crossing, the Gateway Enhancement project and improvements to School Road.
“The state government acknowledges the importance of tourism to regional Victoria, including the Halls Gap area, which helps boost the region’s economy,” she said.