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Posted on 09/01/2023 by Phillip Island Nature Parks

Nature Parks Board Update – November & December 2022

The Phillip Island Nature Parks’ Board met on the 24 November and 15 December 2022 on Phillip Island (Millowl). Below are highlights from these Board meetings:
The Nature Parks experienced strong growth in visitation this financial year, resulting in the organisation reaching 72% of its pre-COVID revenue from admissions within the financial year
to November. The Board was pleased with this result, which was substantially above budget expectations.
Attendance at the Nature Parks sites from international visitors now represents 23% of the Nature Parks total visitation and the Board is optimistic about the continued growth in visitor
numbers into 2023.
The Penguin Parade Boardwalks and Viewing Stands Redevelopment project commenced earlier in the year with $5M in funding from the Regional Tourism Investment Fund. Following
the completion and endorsement of the project Probity Plan, a request for tender for the construction of the funded stage of this project closed in late November. The Board reviewed
the process undertaken and endorsed Management’s recommendation to enter into contract negotiations with the preferred tenderer. The tender appointment will be announced once
contract negotiations have been completed.
The Nature Parks have commenced the search for a ticketing system that can efficiently and effectively process sales for entry to each of its sites and to help support the management of
sales and promotions. The Board received an update on this project and noted the importance of the ticketing system for the organisation’s growth. The request for tender process had been
conducted and the evaluation of the tenders was still underway at the time of the Board’s meeting in December.
The Nature Parks is the land manager of the former landfill at Rhyll, which is currently leased to Bass Coast Shire Council to manage the remediation of this site following its closure as a
landfill site in 1997. The Board received an update on the management of this site and were pleased with the most recent environmental report. The Board noted that the Bass Coast Shire Council continue to be proactive managers of this former landfill site.
In November, the Board came together with Management and reviewed the Nature Parks strategy for 2021-23 (Future Directions Summary). Over a day, Management and the Board
discussed current initiatives, challenges and considered opportunities for 2023-24. It was acknowledged throughout the day that the organisation would maintain focus on staffing and recovery activities for a further 12 months before revisiting its longer-term strategy.

The Board noted the Animal Ethics Committee’s Annual Report for 2022 at its December meeting. The Animal Ethics Committee approved three new projects and oversaw 23 continuing or finished projects.
The Board continue to actively monitor the Nature Parks’ key risks and in November and December the Board received an update on Cyber Security risks and the fire risk across the
Nature Parks’ reserves. The Board noted that the fire risk period is expected to be delayed due to the unusually cool and wet weather experienced in November and December. Fire preparedness activities at the Nature Parks’ reserves will progress as reserves dry out enough to enable works to go ahead.
The Board discussed the Phillip Island Wildlife Plan and acknowledged that the Steering Committee is preparing to report on the first 12 months of implementation early in the New
The Board also acknowledged the concerns within the local community caused by increased wildlife incidents. This is putting pressure on community wildlife rescue volunteers as well as
the resources for wildlife rescue activities by Nature Parks. The Nature Parks operates a Wildlife Clinic with rescue operations from 7am to 4pm and a drop off service until the close
time of the Penguin Parade. Whilst the Board doesn’t have the capacity to increase resources to wildlife rescue activities, it noted that Management would work with key partners to consider
options for improvements within current resources.
The Board approved the final Annual Report in November and was tabled in Parliament at its first sitting following the election. The Annual Report will be published on the Nature Parks
website shortly.
Kevin Love
Phillip Island Nature Parks