Posted on 19/01/2016 by Phillip Island Nature Parks
Phillip Island Nature Parks Board has final meeting for 2015
The Phillip Island Nature Parks Board met on Thursday, 17 December to review several key projects, evaluate visitation figures, acknowledge the Nature Parks’ world leading research team, and discuss issues around domestic cats.
Antarctic Journey at the Nobbies Centre
Phillip Island’s newest attraction, the Antarctic Journey at the Nobbies Centre, opened to the public on Monday, 14 December ahead of its official launch on Wednesday, 23 December. Board members visited the new attraction and were thrilled to experience the interactive activities and multimedia displays first-hand. The Board was delighted that this world-class addition to the Nature Parks’ range of attractions was delivered on time and on budget.
Since the opening of the new Penguins Plus and Underground Viewing experiences in November, this flagship of the Nature Parks’ partnership with RACV has been sold out every night. Visitor feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with a discernible trend that visitors are remaining in the viewing area much longer than they had previously.
The Board was also pleased to note that domestic visitation numbers attributable directly to the partnership with RACV had increased significantly.
Island Explorer Bus
The free Island Explorer Bus service will operate between 28 December 2015 and 13 March 2016 as a pilot project sponsored by Phillip Island Nature Parks, Bass Coast Shire Council, Phillip Island RSL and Destination Phillip Island. The Board is delighted to be working collaboratively with these local community organisations to deliver this project which, in addition to the obvious environmental benefits of minimising vehicle traffic, will also enhance the already impressive range of services on the island, and has the potential to offer ongoing benefits to both visitors and locals alike.
Dr Peter Dann
The Board congratulated and acknowledged Research Manager, Dr Peter Dann on his 35 years of service with Phillip Island Nature Parks. Peter’s significant contributions to ongoing research on Phillip Island have been critical to the success of the Nature Parks’ conservation and environment management efforts.
The Board further congratulated Peter on his international recognition, having been named in the top 5% of over 8 million researchers worldwide who have had their peer-reviewed research published.
Dr Andre Chiaradia
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recently created a Penguin Specialist Group and has invited Nature Parks’ Dr Andre Chiaradia onboard as an executive member. Andre was selected for his proven expertise in foraging ecology, trophic interactions, food webs, ecosystem ecology and penguins in particular. The Board congratulated Andre on his appointment and noted the future benefits for the Nature Parks in terms of furthering our own research as well as global reputation.
Destination Phillip Island
The Board was delighted to welcome the Honourable John Pandazopoulos as the newly appointed Chair of Destination Phillip Island. Mr Pandazopoulos served as Minister for Tourism and Major Events for seven years, and will bring his political and leadership experience, along with his enthusiasm and passion for regional tourism to this role.
The Board acknowledged the contribution since 2013 of Destination Phillip Island’s founding Chair, Fergus Cameron. Mr Cameron will remain on the Board with a specific focus on events.
Animal Ethics Committee
Dr Jenny Hibble, Chair of the Animal Ethics Committee, submitted the committee’s annual report to the Board. Dr Hibble praised the work being done by the Nature Parks on feral cats, however also raised the committee’s ongoing concern regarding domestic cats on Phillip Island. While all cats are required to be microchipped, registered with the Bass Coast Shire Council and contained within owners’ properties, there is no policing of domestic cats.
Dr Hibble commented: “We live in an amazing environment, and need to protect our wildlife. My ideal world would be one in which people either confine their cats to an indoor life, or build an outdoor run which allows a safe outdoor environment for the cats, without interfering with our wildlife”.
“People need to be encouraged to do the right thing and educated about the risks of allowing their cats to roam freely. Not only do free roaming cats have a negative impact on our wildlife, they also contribute significantly to the spread of Feline Aids virus”.
The Board expressed its concern regarding these issues and agreed that an integrated approach between Phillip Island Nature Parks and Bass Coast Shire Council should be pursued as a matter of priority.
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.
Tel: +613 5951 2825 Mobile: 0418 402 161