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Posted on 14/07/2021 by Phillip Island Nature Parks

Nature Parks Board update – May & June 2021

The Phillip Island Nature Parks Board met in May and June to discuss a range of issues and opportunities, and continue its ongoing review of policies, compliance responsibilities and strategic planning as set out under its governance framework. The highlights of these meetings are outlined below.

Sorry Day and National Reconciliation Week
The Board acknowledged the importance of the ongoing connection between the Nature Parks and the Traditional Owners of the lands of Millowl (Phillip Island), the Bunurong. The Board recognised the continued connection to Country of the Traditional Owners and the importance of Country to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within the local community. The Board reflected on the event that took place to mark Sorry Day and the generosity of community members in sharing their experiences.

Board members discussed the importance of National Reconciliation Week, which commenced on the day of the board meeting, and the valuable relationships within the local community that make it possible for the Nature Parks to continue to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and culture in all aspects of its work.

Annual Business Plan and Budget
The Board endorsed the Annual Business Plan and Budget for 2021-22, and reviewed the 3-year budget projections, acknowledging the ongoing challenges faced by the Nature Parks as a tourism operator during a very uncertain and unpredictable period.

The Board acknowledged the invaluable financial support provided to date by the State Government to maintain the Nature Parks core operations and retain its permanent staff, and is looking forward to working with the Government and the Nature Parks Executive team to identify the most appropriate forms of further support.

Organisational Values
The Board received an update on the Nature Parks’ review of its Organisational Values, which set the benchmark for how the Nature Parks makes decisions, what is prioritised, what sort of culture is created, as well as both team and individual behaviour.

This project is reviewing the values which were created in 2010, and is setting out to establish a set of values that truly connects and empowers the workforce, supports the organisation’s vision, drives the desired organisational culture, and aligns with our brand, and has a supporting set of behaviours and expectations that bring the values to life.

The Board was delighted to see the high levels of involvement and engagement from the Nature Parks’ team in this project, from across all areas of the organisation.

Wildlife Management Review
The Board received an update from the Nature Parks Conservation Manager on the initial feedback and input provided to a review of the Wildlife Act. The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has been appointed by the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, the Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio, to lead this comprehensive review of the Wildlife Act, which sets the rules around how people in Victoria interact with wildlife.

The Nature Parks has been invited to participate in the review and will draw on its own expertise and existing information to provide feedback to assist in this process.

The Board also received an update on the status of the Phillip Island Wildlife Management Plan, which is nearing completion, and acknowledged the progress of this collaborative project. The final plan will soon be released, following the receipt of valuable community input through an extensive consultation process.

Strategic Risk Review
The Board considers one or two strategic risks at each scheduled meeting, and in May the Board considered the risks to the Nature Parks’ coastal assets as a result of climate change. The Board reviewed and discussed many of the challenges arising from climate change on land management, including freshwater sources, coastal erosion and wildlife health.

In June, the Board received an update from Director of Research Dr Peter Dann on the risk to penguin populations, and heard that many of the terrestrial risks have been well managed over successive decades, and work was now focussed on marine threats.

Power Outage
The Board received an update on the impacts of the power outage that impacted much of Victoria in mid-June. The Board extends its thanks to so many members of the Nature Parks team from across all departments who assisted in clearing debris and getting the Penguin Parade operational by the Friday evening, and the Koala Conservation Reserve and Churchill Island by Saturday morning. It was a fabulous team effort.

Board Appointments
The Board met for the last time in its current form, and held an informal lunch gathering at the Penguin Parade in the company of a small number of Nature Parks staff, to reflect on the many challenges, plans, reviews and opportunities considered by the Board over a period of years.

Nature Parks’ CEO Catherine Basterfield acknowledged and thanked departing Board members for their contributions throughout their tenure. Board members departing after 30 June are Liz Stinson (Chair), Shelley Lavender, Andrew Paxton, Kay Spierings and David Cochrane.

Kevin Love (current Board member) has been appointed as Board Chair, and Dr Danielle Auldist, Jane Foley and Michaela Salvato have all been re-appointed.

New appointees to the Board include Patrice Mahoney OAM, Jane Jobe and Dr Geoffrey Wescott, who will be welcomed and inducted into their roles in the coming weeks and months.


Kevin Love
Phillip Island Nature Parks