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Community input sought for draft Phillip Island Wildlife Plan

Community input sought for draft Phillip Island Wildlife Plan

Friday 13 November 2020

Media Release courtesy of Phillip Island Nature Parks and DELWP

The community is being invited to provide input into the Draft Phillip Island (Millowl) Wildlife Plan to help determine the best ways to manage the opportunities and challenges of living with wildlife in this special place.

Over past decades, the Island’s people, landscape, and wildlife have all benefited from some impressive management achievements and practices, such as eradicating foxes, restoring habitat, controlling weeds, and improving farming practices.

In recent years, research and observation have shown that some species, including Cape Barren Geese, Swamp Wallabies and Brush Tailed Possums have become abundant, impacting the Island’s environment and community in a range of ways including damage to buildings and assets, over-browsing of native vegetation and crops, and interaction with cars.

Phillip Island Nature Parks, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), Bass Coast Shire Council, and local farmers came together to form a steering committee to develop the Draft Plan, in collaboration with key stakeholders and community. Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation are also involved in the Plan’s development.

"The Plan aims to identify any gaps or opportunities in current practices, and balance the best available research with the needs of our community,” said Catherine Basterfield, CEO of Phillip Island Nature Parks

“Its focus will be on the interactions between wildlife and our community including Traditional Culture, conservation, public safety, tourism and agriculture, and move towards a proactive and tailored approach unique to Phillip Island.”

“This plan creates the opportunity for a proactive and island-wide approach, and will include investigating practical and humane alternative solutions to controlling abundant species on properties, as current options are limited and proving to be ineffective. We’ll be considering alternatives such as exclusion, fertility control, egg collection and Traditional harvesting.”

All native wildlife is protected in Victoria and it is an offence to kill, take, control or harm wildlife under the Wildlife Act 1975.

The Draft Plan reflects the Victorian Government’s standpoint of encouraging a 'living with wildlife' approach, acknowledging the value of wildlife, promoting positive attitudes, and encouraging people to understand the importance of its conservation. It also balances the impacts of wildlife on a range of values, including economic, conservation, welfare, and safety.

“Community input and support is crucial to our success, and we look forward to involving the community, creating partnerships, and developing innovative approaches to managing wildlife on the Island, to ensure we can have healthy wildlife populations, reduce negative impacts of wildlife on environmental, public health, safety, social and economic assets and values, and support a viable agricultural and tourism industry.”

Public feedback is now being invited on the first draft of the plan, which is available to view on the Engage Vic website