Media Releases 2016

Posted on 16/06/2016 by Phillip Island Nature Parks

Phillip Island Nature Parks Board update

The Phillip Island Nature Parks Board met on Thursday, 26 May to receive a range of environmental updates and an update on visitor feedback, reflect on Reconciliation Week activities, and to formalise its response to the Draft Phillip Island and San Remo Tourism Strategy 2035.

Traffic Accident
The Board wished to acknowledge the support and assistance provided to many island visitors by a number of local traders and tourism operators in the wake of the recent traffic accident which caused lengthy delays on the roads. Many of the island’s local businesses proactively offered practical and caring assistance in a time of need.

Carbon Emissions Review
The Board received a briefing from Catherine Basterfield, Nature Parks’ Operations Manager, providing an overview of strategies to measure and reduce its carbon emissions, in line with the Nature Parks’ visions of sustainability and conservation excellence.

Phillip Island and San Remo Tourism Strategy 2035
The Board formalised its submission to the Draft Phillip Island and San Remo Tourism Strategy, commending the Bass Coast Shire Council for taking the initiative to create a unique tourism strategy for Phillip Island and San Remo. The Board acknowledged the leadership role the Nature Parks will need to play, and is generally very supportive of the proposed strategies.

The Board noted several components of the Draft Strategy for specific comment including: that the brand positioning of Phillip Island as an “awe-inspiring natural environment” is a welcome concept; the development of a network of walking trails is a positive inclusion; the Nature Parks encourages initiatives to reduce the intensity of the reliance on self-drive activities as linkages between sites; amendments to the planning framework that provide investor confidence in Bass Coast for suitable developments that meet the island’s environmental ethos are welcome.

State of the Bays Report
The Board received a briefing on preparations for the 2016 State of the Bays Report by Dr Scott Rawlings, Manager Science and Research from the Office of the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability. This report on both Port Phillip Bay and Western Port will include such issues as water quality, species, habitat and communities, ecosystem function and the impact of threats such as coastal development and climate change, and is due to be completed by late 2016.

Visitor Feedback
The Board was delighted to note that the ongoing visitor surveys conducted across the Nature Parks revealed that customer feedback was extremely positive in relation to the new Nature Parks’ products. The Penguins Plus and Underground Viewing experiences rated very highly with visitors, as did the Antarctic Journey at the Nobbies and the EcoBoat Tour.

“It is gratifying to see that the Nature Parks’ investment in product development has resulted in three new attractions which are being so well received by our visitors,” said Acting Chair, Mr Andrew Paxton. “These types of new products raise Phillip Island’s profile, increase repeat visitation, and encourage visitors to stay longer, helping to ensure that Phillip Island is recognised as a world-class destination.”

Penguin Parade Visitor Centre
The Board was pleased that the tendering process has commenced for the Nature Parks’ next major project, the new Penguin Parade Visitor Centre. An architect is due to be appointed by late 2016, with construction scheduled to commence in early 2018. The new Visitor Centre is due to open in late 2019, and the removal of the existing building and restoration of penguin habitat is due to be completed by late 2020.

Reconciliation Week
The Board was pleased to see that in line with the Nature Parks’ commitment to its Reconciliation Action Plan, there would once again be a range of activities for Reconciliation Week. Nature Parks’ staff were given the opportunity to attend cultural awareness training with Kutcha Edwards, along with a selection of lunchtime film clips, a bush tucker BBQ lunch and a smoking ceremony.

Andrew Paxton
Acting Chair
Phillip Island Nature Parks