I too rise to speak on this very important bill, the Alpine Resorts Legislation Amendment Bill 2022. As has been stated by previous speakers, here in Victoria we are very, very fortunate that we have four alpine resorts covering our six mountains, each with their own, as we know, unique set of characteristics. Ms Maxwell has just talked glowingly about the resorts that we share in our electorate of Northern Victoria. We know how tough they have been doing it over the past couple of years. We talked about the bushfires over the 2019–20 Christmas-New Year period and then the onset of COVID and all that was associated with the winding back of the visitor economy during that period of time for so many local businesses, small and medium—not all necessarily associated with the resorts but in the nearby towns—and the impacts that they have felt because of the impact of COVID and other things over the past couple of years.
It is important for us to understand that each of those resorts currently has its own level of management, and of course I talk about the Southern Alpine Resort, which covers Lake Mountain and Mount Baw Baw, the Mount Hotham Alpine Resort, the Falls Creek Alpine Resort, and the Mount Buller and Mount Stirling Alpine Resort. These boards do a fantastic job in managing their own patches, but it is now opportune, as we come through COVID and we start to plan for our recovery out of COVID, and we are well on the way to that, for us to have a look at such a significant industry as the alpine resort industry, the snow industry, and all of those that benefit from it.
That is why this reform is so timely and so important. I take on board the contributions that others have made about the process that will still be ongoing. I think Ms Bath talked about people being very interested in what would happen moving forward in terms of the financial aspects, the financial modelling, of Alpine Resorts Victoria and the transition to ensure that ARV is sustainable moving forward. That work continues, with Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) continuing to work with our stakeholders to develop that operating and financial modelling. Ms Bath also talked about a key aspect that ARV will need to consider, which is protecting the unique environment that surrounds our very important alpine region, and that is part of the ongoing work.
There are five key drivers for this reform, and I think it is important that we just briefly put those on record. Financial stability—that is, we want to improve the economic viability of the alpine resorts for current and future generations by consolidating the management across the whole sector with a whole-sector focus. We want to modernise the governance to improve transparency and accountability. We know that the current legislation is over 20 years of age, and I think there are still some people in this place who were probably here when it was first introduced. That is how long ago it was first established. I am not one of those, Ms Maxwell, but nonetheless. We also want to strengthen our long-term climate change mitigation and planning across the sector in a coordinated way. We want to improve efficiency by greater coordination, removing duplication. And, as I stated in my opening remarks, there is the recovery from COVID-19. We want to build that road map for the entire sector and work through those issues so that we have the ongoing resilience for the alpine resorts to be able to confront challenges of the future.
I am not going to use 15 minutes. I do want to just say a couple of quick things. How impressive was it at the Winter Olympics just recently, Ms Watt, that three of our four medallists came from Victoria. Seventy-five per cent of the medallists for the Australian Winter Olympics team came from here in Victoria—sadly not all from Northern Victoria, but what we do know is that each of them would have used the facilities in Northern Victoria on their journey to becoming superstars. I of course speak of Jakara Anthony, who is down Barwon Heads way, who won a gold medal, a fantastic gold medal; Scotty James, of course, who was born in East Melbourne and I think grew up in Warrandyte, who took home a silver; and Tess Coady, again, born in Melbourne, who took home a bronze medal. So to those three outstanding Victorians we say congratulations. You have done yourselves, your state and your country very, very proud. And it is important for the next generation of Jakaras, Scottys and Tesses and everybody else who enjoys the snow season—I myself have given it a bash, and I have got to say as a snow skier I am an excellent table tennis player. There is more stability in a bowl of jelly than me on skis, I have got to say. Please do not visualise that. But suffice to say that one thing you always hear when you do go to the snowfields of course is that very unmistakable sound of children’s laughter—you know, those kids having fun. They enjoy that environment so much.
We hope that the restructuring of the management of the alpine resorts under ARV will continue to grow that very important visitor economy in our alpine regions and preserve what has become such a very, very important part of our industry, particularly in Northern Victoria.
I do want to touch on one thing before I conclude, and that is in relation to some of the comments that have been made about what those opposite might have been going to do in 2014. I do not think there is a debate that goes by in this place when we are not reminded by those opposite about what they were going to do in 2014, but the fact is that they had the opportunity and they did not do anything. They did not do it. I am not sure what Mr Smith was doing in 2014 when he was reviewing the alpine resorts and the industry, but the fact is that they did not do it. You can stand in this place and say, ‘Well, we were going to if we had been elected’, but the reason you did not get elected is because, as my memory and the record states, you did not do very much during that period of time when you did have the baton in your hand.
I am glad that the bill has got support across the chamber. I am glad that we are doing what we are doing. I am pleased that DELWP and others will continue to lead consultation, particularly with our Indigenous communities in the alpine regions. They are the traditional owners of this land. It always was Aboriginal land, and it always will be. It is so important that we continue to engage those First Nations people to ensure that we are moving forward in a partnership that respects the cultural heritage of that land, respects our moves for self-management and self-determination and ensures that we are marching in lock step together. I commend the bill to the house.