Media Releases 2018

Posted on 07/06/2018 by Phillip Island Nature Parks

Phillip Island Nature Parks Board Update – May 2018

The Phillip Island Nature Parks Board met on Thursday 31 May to discuss a range of important issues and opportunities and the highlights of this meeting are outlined below.

Annual Business Plan and Budget 2018-19
The Board considered and approved the Business Plan and Budget for 2018-19 which included a range of capital expenditure on items to benefit both visitors and community. The implementation of the Nature Parks’ Interpretation Plan will commence with a review and refresh of the interactive and interpretive activities in The Lab area of the Antarctic Journey, and funding was also approved for the design phase of the Penguin Parade boardwalk redevelopment.

The Board was pleased to note that the upgrade to the Barb Martin Bushbank was progressing well and nearing completion, and the upgrades to a range of beach infrastructure across the island are continuing. The Anzacs Beach toilets and car park upgrade was finalised in 2017, the Flynns Beach toilets were replaced earlier this year, and the Forrest Cave toilets are next in line to be replaced.

Feral Cats
The Board noted the Nature Parks’ involvement during the consultation process as part of the State Government’s proposal that feral cats be declared an established pest animal on public land in Victoria under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994. This declaration will currently only apply to specified public land being managed by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) or Parks Victoria. The Board is seeking to have the Crown Land managed by Phillip Island Nature Parks included in this declaration. This declaration will provide significant opportunities to manage feral cats and protect biodiversity and threatened wildlife.

Animal welfare and the safety of free-roaming domestic cats will be prioritised through a feral cat management Code of Practice, and will include operational standards and guidelines by which all government pest controllers and their agents must abide.

Conservation Plan
The Board was pleased with the initial development of the Nature Parks’ 30 year Conservation Plan following stakeholder consultation workshops. Community consultation will be invited in due course on a range of initiatives including the 30 year Conservation Plan, 5 year Conservation Action Plan and Threatened Species Plan.

Environment Plan 2012-17
The Board was pleased to acknowledge the acquittal of the Environment Plan 2012-17, and was pleased to note many of the highlights achieved during this period, including the continued restoration and rehabilitation of the Summerland Peninsula, and significant progress in the area of detecting and actioning seal entanglements.

The momentous declaration in August 2017 that Phillip Island is now fox-free after many years implementing a targeted and multi-disciplinary programme, paved the way for the release of the endangered Eastern Barred Bandicoot onto the Summerland Peninsula in October 2017.

Weed management forms an integral component of habitat restoration and maintenance, and was a major focus of the last five years across the island. A staggering total of 15,395 hours, at an average of 3,079 hours per year, were spent in weed management by Nature Parks’ rangers and volunteers, with additional work conducted by specialist contractors.

Penguin Parade Visitor Centre Development
The Board received an update on the development and was pleased that Stage 1 was now complete, with the opening of the new visitor car park in early May. Work continues on the Coach parking area which is due to open in September, and groundwork commenced on the new Visitor Centre due to open in November 2019.

National Reconciliation Week
The Board congratulated all involved in presenting a shared program of activities to acknowledge significant events in our history for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples during National Reconciliation Week. Activities were well attended across Phillip Island in conjunction with Bass Coast Shire Council, Westernport Water, Phillip Island Nature Parks, Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation, Bass Coast South Gippsland Reconciliation Group and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community members.

Strategic Plan
The Board has approved and finalised the Nature Parks’ Strategic Plan 2018-23 which is currently awaiting endorsement by the Minister before becoming a public document. The Strategic Plan commits the Nature Parks to a long term vision of becoming a place where conservation and ecotourism excellence inspire people to actively protect the environment.

Kevin Love
Acting Chair
Phillip Island Nature Parks

#ENDS#

Media Enquiries:
Roland Pick – Communications Executive
Tel: +613 5951 2825 Mobile: 0418 402 161 Email: rpick@penguins.org.au