Media Releases 2018

Posted on 02/01/2018 by Phillip Island Nature Parks

Phillip Island Nature Parks Board Update – November/December 2017

The Phillip Island Nature Parks Board met on Thursday 30 November and Thursday 21 December to evaluate the progress of a range of projects, receive updates on research and fire readiness, receive the Animal Ethics Committee Annual Report, review community and staff feedback on the Draft Strategic Plan, and to welcome new staff members.

Strategic Planning
The Board welcomed the feedback received during the community consultation process on the Draft 2018-23 Strategic Plan, and thanked members of the local community for engaging in this important planning process. The Board is revising the Strategic Plan, incorporating much of the valuable input received.

Conservation Department
The Board received an update from the Conservation team, and was impressed with the reports on research currently being undertaken, which includes a study of domestic cats on Phillip Island. This GPS based tracking study will develop a detailed understanding of the behaviours and travel habits of domestic cats within our community, and the associated risks to them of road trauma, contracting diseases such as toxoplasmosis from feral cats, and unwanted litters which could contribute to an increase in the feral cat population.

The Board received an update on the Nature Parks’ fire prevention, preparedness, response and recovery actions outlined in the Fire Management Plan 2016-2021 and Fire Operations Plan. The Board acknowledged the significant preparation ahead of the bushfire season, and looked forward to continued participation in the Bass Coast Municipal Fire Management Committee, consisting of members from Country Fire Authority (CFA), Victoria Police, Parks Victoria, Forest Fire Management Victoria (DELWP), Bass Cast Shire Council, VicRoads, and the Nature Parks, working together with Ausnet Services, Westernport Water and South Gippsland Water to plan for potential bushfire emergencies in Bass Coast.

Animal Ethics Committee
The Board received the Annual Report of the Animal Ethics Committee (AEC), which is responsible for overseeing the ethicality and adequacy of the Nature Parks’ research procedures in order to ensure the best long-term interests of Phillip Island’s fauna. The committee is chaired by Dr Jenny Hibble and operates independently of the Board. The Board sincerely thanked Dr Hibble and AEC committee members for their outstanding contributions.

Property Settlement
The Board noted that the transaction for the purchase of the neighbouring property known locally as the Vegter farm had now been finalised, and looked forward to extending the Nature Parks’ existing restoration and revegetation practices seamlessly into this farmland.

Tourism Awards
The Board was delighted with the large number of Bass Coast and Phillip Island businesses who featured prominently at the 2017 Tourism Awards, and congratulates the following winners:
• Bass Coast Shire Council (WINNER - Local Government Award for Tourism)
• Wildlife Coast Cruises (SILVER - Tour & Transport Operators)
• Phillip Island Helicopters (FINALIST - Tour & Transport Operators)
• Phillip Island & Bass Coast Visitor Information Centre Network (SILVER - Visitor Information Services)
• Amaze N’ Things (WINNER – Major Tourist Attractions)
• Phillip Island GP Circuit (BRONZE – Major Tourist Attractions)

White Ribbon
Board members attended a special White Ribbon event immediately following November’s Board meeting, where Mr Ken Lay, former Chief of Victoria Police and recently appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Victoria shared his insights and knowledge into the important issue of men’s violence against women.

One of Mr Lay’s key messages was that the very core of the solution to this problem is the promotion and creation of a balance of power between men and women, and workplaces have the opportunity and an obligation to help achieve this. Workplaces are fundamental to fostering healthy, respectful relationships between men and women and promoting gender equality. As a White Ribbon Accredited Workplace, the Nature Parks is endeavouring to lead by example and raise awareness of this vital issue.

Churchill Island
The Board was delighted to hear of the progress made on a range of projects being undertaken at Churchill Island. The new bathrooms in the Visitor Centre are now fully operational, along with some shedding and storage solutions. The visitor experience has been enhanced at the Shearing Shed with the addition of tiered seating in this all-weather facility.

Following a conservation audit in 2016, and with some funding assistance from the Living Heritage Grants program, some of the buildings in the heritage precinct are undergoing some much-needed restoration. This important work is being carried out by qualified professionals under the supervision of an independent, accredited supervisor to ensure the protection of the area’s cultural heritage. This Board looks forward to this work being completed in early 2018.

Welcome to New Staff
The Board welcomed two recent appointments to significant roles within the Nature Parks.

Jessica McKelson joined the team as Conservation Manager after having spent the last 17 years in Australia and Indonesia establishing eco-tourism, community development, and conservation programs. After several years supervising the primate department at Melbourne Zoo and managing the Sumatran Orangutan Quarantine Centre, Jessica brings her advanced skills in operations, animal welfare, staff development, and visitor and stakeholder relations to the Conservation Department.

Kate Adams joined the team as Visitor Experience Manager. Kate has over 20 years’ experience managing nature-based tourism services, education and interpretation, and visitor operations across a range of State and National Parks. Kate’s knowledge of the tourism industry and stakeholder relations, combined with her experience in managing visitor and tourism services, provides a strong background to support the development of quality visitor experiences.

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.

#ENDS#

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