Media Releases 2016

Posted on 10/03/2016 by Phillip Island Nature Parks

Phillip Island Nature Parks Board has first meeting for 2015

The Phillip Island Nature Parks Board met on Thursday, 25 February for its Annual Budget and Strategy Day, and to review many achievements within the Nature Parks’ over the previous 12 months. 

12 MONTH REVIEW

  • The exciting new Antarctic Journey at the Nobbies Centre opened in December 2015, on time and on budget, and has been the subject of outstanding feedback. The Board considered that this attraction will contribute to visitors staying longer on Phillip Island, benefiting the community as a whole.  
  • The new Penguins Plus and Underground penguin viewing experiences opened in November 2015, delivering increased capacity for a premium, nature-based experience which will assist in the Nature Parks’ strategy of attracting new streams of visitors who provide high yield returns.
  • Penguin Parade visitation has increased by 15% over the previous year, including an increase of 19.6% in the number of Chinese visitors, representing the highest number of Chinese visitors to any single paid attraction in Victoria.
  • The Nature Parks launched its second Reconciliation Action Plan 2015-2018. The 32 actions within the plan are aimed at furthering the Nature Parks’ commitment to reconciliation through developing strong relationships, fostering mutual respect and exploring and providing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.   
  • The Board was delighted that, thanks to the continued efforts of the environment team and a band of dedicated volunteers, the Hooded Plovers have experienced a record year, with a total of 14 chicks fledging this season.
  • Solar arrays were installed at Churchill Island and the Volunteer House at the Penguin Parade, and are expected to reduce electricity consumption by 50% at these two sites.
  • Fire Operations plans were completed for all reserves in order to achieve the objectives of the Nature Parks’ Fire Management Plan and the Bass Coast Municipal Fire Management Plan.
  • The trial release of the Eastern Barred Bandicoots on Churchill Island has been extremely successful, with several pairs already breeding. The Board was thrilled to hear that one of the bandicoots born on Phillip Island has now had a baby of her own, thus welcoming the third generation.
  • The Research team has experienced a very productive year with 24 research papers published, plus increased collaboration and external funding leading to 4 PhDs being completed.
  • The last fox sighting on Phillip Island was in August 2015, testament to the success of the Nature Parks’ Integrated Pest Management Strategy.
  • The Nature Parks’ Education team facilitated a range of School Holiday programs, reporting high levels of attendance and engagement across all activities. These included multiple activities across the island, as well as daily activities at the Penguin Parade between Christmas and the Australia Day Long Weekend.
  • Over 200 schools have visited the Nature Parks in the last year, with our Education team providing environmental educational experiences for domestic and international students of all ages.
  • 87 additional staff were recruited by the Nature Parks during the last year across a range of roles in all departments.
  • The Nature Parks has forecast an environmental dividend of $3.6 million to be invested in Phillip Island’s key environmental assets including the management and restoration of over 1,805 hectares of Crown Land and the protection of key wildlife, benefiting the local community.  
  • The Board wished to acknowledge the ongoing contribution of the Nature Parks’ sponsors, including Penguin Foundation and ExxonMobil. 

OTHER ITEMS 

  • Members of BirdLife Bass Coast conducted a count at the Koala Conservation Centre in February 2016 and counted 27 species of birds within the woodland area.
  • Manuela Fischer of the Nature Parks Research team provided a presentation to the Community and Environment Advisory Committee on 25 February 2016. She updated attendees on her PhD research project into how wallabies use space, and move within and between different habitat types. She also aims to determine the impact of wallabies on vegetation, and try to understand the perceptions of people towards wildlife.   
  • Further Master planning has commenced for both the Summerland Peninsula  Walking Tracks project and also the Woodlands and Wetlands Key Area Plan. In addition, work has begun on detailed drawings for the new Churchill Island Functions and Event Centre.
  • The Board had a briefing regarding progress of the Cape Woolamai Master Plan and is pleased with initial progress and community involvement to date. 

‘It was particularly pleasing to note that the Nature Parks employed 270 staff over the year, most of whom live on Phillip Island and within the Bass Coast region,’ said Jeff Floyd. ‘This, together with our significant spend on environmental works, ensure that we make a significant contribution to Phillip Island and the region overall’. 

Jeff Floyd
Chair

Phillip Island Nature Parks  

Phillip Island Nature Parks

Phillip Island Nature Parks is a not-for-profit organisation that relies on its ecotourism attractions to deliver ongoing funding for social, environmental, conservation, research and education outcomes. 

The Nature Parks is governed by a Board of Management established under the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978. Board members are appointed by the Responsible Minister under the Act and the Board meets regularly to provide governance and strategic direction. 

www.penguins.org.au 

#ENDS# 

Media Enquiries:
Roland Pick

Communications Officer

Tel:  +613 5951 2825  Mobile: 0418 402 161
Email: rpick@penguins.org.au

www.penguins.org.au