Caring for Coast – Partnering with community for world leading environmental protection and coastal experiences for all

Ms Vanessa Schernickau1

1Great Ocean Road Coast Committee, Torquay , Australia


The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee is a State Government body responsible for protecting, enhancing and developing coastal Crown land from Point Impossible to Cumberland River.  We are the largest accommodation provider on the coast with more than 525,000 overnight stays annually in our caravan parks at Torquay, Anglesea and Lorne.  All funds raised through our commercial activities are reinvested back into caring for the coast.

The Great Ocean Road region receives nearly 6 million visitors a year with annual growth of 4% each year and the resident population is more than trebled during peak times.  As well as increased visitation, our coastal challenges are increasing with:

  • the impacts of climate change
  • the need to protect natural habitats
  • ageing coastal infrastructure
  • the need for sustainable funding models
  • meeting increased community expectations.

This presentation will discuss how we share these challenges with our diverse community and visitors and some of the innovative ways we ask them to be involved and lead behavioural change.  This includes:

  • Victorian coastal monitoring program with Deakin University
  • environmental education program with schools and in our caravan parks focussed on conservation and climate change
  • habitat protection and revegetation programs with community groups and corporate volunteers
  • our community conference focussed on climate change and growth
  • our guided Surf Coast Walk in partnership with Traditional Owners the Wadawurrung
  • community engagement approaches including virtual reality Coastal Scenario Planning with Deakin University live+smart research laboratory.


Vanessa Schernickau (GAICD) is CEO of the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee; the largest accommodation provider on the Great Ocean Road with 525,000 visitor nights at Torquay, Anglesea and Lorne Caravan Parks. Profits are reinvested into coastal amenity and infrastructure, environmental conservation, caravan parks and community education.

Previous executive roles include at City of Port Phillip leading economic development, tourism, arts and culture as well as heading Indigenous workforce development at the Department of Education and Children’s Services, Northern Territory Government.

Vanessa holds a Master in Business Management and Graduate Diploma in HRD.