A History of the Phillip Island Conservation Society Inc (PICS)
PICS has been active for over 50 years and was one of the first community conservation groups in Australia. The history of the first 40 years of the society’s activities can be read in the book: An Island Worth Conserving; a History of the Phillip Island Conservation Society 1968-2008 by Christine Grayden. This book won the community/collaborative section of the Victorian Community History Awards in 2009 and can be read by downloading the pdf from the Reports section. Campaigns during that time included:
- Working with the Saltwater Creek Action Group to save Saltwater Creek from a residential marina development
- Working with the Nobbies Action Group to try to stop a large-scale and inappropriate private building on Crown Land at Point Grant (the Nobbies area)
- Growing and planting thousands of trees on the island with the community as part of the Bicentennial Celebrations in 1988.
- Participating on various committees involved in the management, planning and protection of Western Port and to stop large-scale industrial development in Western Port
- Negotiating with developers and council on permit applications and planning scheme amendments to ensure that the environment is always considered in planning matters
- Taking many inappropriate planning proposals to VCAT
- Participation in the Foreshore Advisory Committee to develop an appropriate foreshore management plan for Phillip Island
- Representation on the Penguin Reserve Committee of Management (1984-1996) which closed the Ventnor Road on the Summerland Peninsula at dusk, initiated the fox eradication program and called on the Minister for Conservation to begin buy-back of the Summerland Peninsula for wildlife
- Representation on the Phillip Island Nature Parks Board (1996-2002) which manages around 20% of Phillip Islands crown land in reserves, including the Penguin Parade, Koala Conservation Centre, Churchill Island, Summerland Peninsula, coastal, wetland and bushland reserves.
and many more activities and campaigns… Since 2008 the society has concentrated on inculcating the ideals of good planning to try to ensure that wildlife habitat on the island is not just maintained but improved; that rural land and landscape values are maintained; that town boundaries are locked in so that no more residential estates intrude on rural land; that noise pollution is taken seriously by the council and the Environment Protection Authority; that botanical surveys are made of valuable public land (funded by our tax deductible Public Fund) and acted on through weed control and revegetation; that our Coast Action areas of Red Rocks and Saltwater Creek, and our Friends of Scenic Estate Reserve area are all maintained, revegetated and that weeds, rubbish and litter are controlled. The formation of the PICS group Preserve Western Port Action Group (PWP) in 2014 at a large public meeting called by PICS to discuss the proposal to make Western Port Victoria’s next biggest container port led to a huge campaign. This campaign to stop the container port development is recorded in Politics, Planning, Passion and Perseverance by Phyllis Papps and can be downloaded as a pdf in the Reports section. Now PWP is fighting against the proposal to have a Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) placed at Crib Point with the attendant infrastructure and negative environmental impacts. Currently PICS is working with the Bass Coast branch of the National Trust to develop a Significant Tree and Vegetation Register for Phillip Island which could be extended to all of Bass Coast Shire. The aim is to have the register incorporated into the Planning Scheme to give the registered trees and vegetation an extra layer of protection. PICS is also working on the development of an urban canopy program for the island’s township areas. PICS tackles many other issues, great and small, and is entirely made up of volunteers. Our activities are funded through membership subscriptions and donations, including through tax deductible donations to our Public Fund. We are grateful to both state and federal governments for grants which have enabled us to do important revegetation and infrastructure projects. We are also grateful to the Bass Coast Shire Council which supports us through community grants and with practical help and advice from their environment and planning departments’ staff. Our 50 year plan can be found in the Reports section of this website.