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Posted on 10/01/2023 by Phillip Island Nature Parks

Resilience and recovery highlights of Nature Parks’ Annual Report

Phillip Island Nature Parks’ Annual Report 2021-22 has been released, telling the story of recovery and resilience as the organisation continues to re-build following the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Nature Parks is grateful for the support received from the State Government during this period, which enabled the continuation of its important conservation work across Phillip Island (Millowl). During the financial year, $4.2M was invested into conservation, research and education activities.

This year Nature Parks restored 13.8 hectares of habitat, the local penguin population continued to thrive and grow, with the penguin census recording 40,000 Little Penguins, and the Hooded Plovers had their second most successful breeding year in 30 years.

Phillip Island Nature Parks CEO, Catherine Basterfield said the organisation measures its success based on its impact to the local environment, the local community, its team and its financial sustainability. 

“This year we are proud of the positive action we have taken for the environment, the community and our team despite the fiscal challenges we faced” said Ms Basterfield.

The Nature Parks net result for the financial year was a loss of $10.5M, which was consistent with expectations, given the challenging operating environment. Revenue from operations increased by 62% compared to 2021, which was significantly impacted by pandemic restrictions including a loss in revenue from overseas tourists.

The focus was on recovery and beginning to return to a position of growth, following the priorities set out in its recovery strategy (Future Directions Summary 2021-2023). These priorities included diversifying by hosting conferences and events, tailoring product offerings and establishing organisational governance and structures.

Highlights of the year include:

  • Premier Daniel Andrews MP visiting the Penguin Parade in May 2022 and announcing $5 million towards stage one of the Penguin Parade Boardwalks and Stands Redevelopment Project.  
  • The Nature Parks welcoming 415,130 paid visitors across its four attractions.
  • Winning the Victorian Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) award for Tourism Innovation and Resilience in Regional Victoria in recognition of the Penguin Parade Live Stream phenomenon that brought joy to millions around the world.
  • A record 5,219 penguins crossing the beach in April. A number that was broken again in October last year.
  • Hosting Southern Ocean Live and being part of Meet the Penguins, which both aired on the ABC.
  • Celebrating Research Director Dr Peter Dann’s 42 years of service at Nature Parks in the lead up to his retirement.   

“We are so grateful for the support of our staff, our community and the ongoing assistance of the State Government – without their help we would be telling a very different story this year.” said Ms Basterfield.

“This year has been a positive one in many ways and I’m optimistic about the future, which we approach with confidence. Despite the challenges, we have grown and adapted. We are more resilient and as focused as ever on achieving our purpose – protecting nature for wildlife and inspiring people to act.”

Phillip Island Nature Parks Annual Report 2021-22 is available as a summary and in full here.