THE new $58.2m Penguin Parade Visitor Centre will see visitor numbers skyrocket to 2300 people per day, on average, by 2030.
That’s 840,000 visitors per year – up from around the 700,000 figure currently.
Four months ahead of schedule, the centre officially opened last Thursday, July 25.
It was just over three years ago that Premier Daniel Andrews, who officially opened the centre, announced State Government funding of $48.2m for the project – plus $10m from the Phillip Island Nature Parks.
The Nature Parks were hoping it would be opened by Christmas 2019.
Premier Daniel Andrews described it as a world-class facility which brings in half a billion dollars’ worth of tourism into Victoria.
“This is not just important in terms of biodiversity in our local community, it’s not just about animal welfare and environmental protection and all those other very worthy aims; but this is about economic development, it’s about jobs, it’s about $500m worth of economic benefit to our state every single year.
“I can’t think of a better way for us to invest than between ourselves and the Nature Parks.”
He also praised the Nature Parks CEO, Catherine Basterfield, and the team; as well as architects, builders, and others.
There were around 200 construction jobs created for the build.
“This is a profound investment.”
He said while the project is about jobs and tourism; it’s also about “making sure our rich environmental assets, our biodiversity, the things that set us apart, are protected and safeguarded.”
“The Nature Parks does a great job down here, and it’s the pride of the Bass Coast and Phillip Island community and they deserve nothing but the best.”
Premier Daniel Andrews was joined by Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio, and Bass MP Jordan Crugnale, to launch the award-winning facility, which replaces the existing centre built more than 30 years ago.
Australia’s largest colony of Little Penguins will benefit from a key aspect of the development with the restoration of more than six hectares of penguin habitat on the site of the old visitor
centre and coach parking areas, creating homes for an additional 1400 breeding penguins.
Minister D’Ambrosio said the restoration of the penguins’ habitat is a critical component of the development, “creating homes for thousands of penguins and helping to secure the future of Australia’s largest Little Penguin colony.”
Demolition works on the old building started yesterday (Monday, July 29).
The project’s expected to create more than 600 new jobs in the local tourism sector.
Featuring a spectacular architectural design, the visitor centre offers fun and interactive activities for the whole family, a state-of-the-art theatre and a range of dining and retail options, as well as allowing Philip Island Nature Parks to continue to carry out its globally recognised penguin research.
The Penguin Parade visitor centre will also eliminate all single-use plastics throughout its food outlets, building on the Labor Government’s ongoing work to reduce the amount of plastic entering our waterways and environment.
Penguin Parade Visitor Centre – Tourism bonanza Penguins bring in $500m