A new $58.2 million visitor centre opened today ensuring the future of one of Australia’s most popular tourist attractions, the iconic Phillip Island Penguin Parade.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews joined Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio to launch the new Penguin Parade visitor centre which replaces the existing centre built more than 30 years ago.

“The new centre will create hundreds of Victorians jobs and ensure this world-class centre continues providing a wonderful experience for more local families, and visitors from across Australia and the world,” Premier Andrews said.

The new centre is part of the Regional Tourism Infrastructure Fund initiated by the Victorian Labor government with an investment of $48.2 million. The project created 200 construction jobs and is expected to create more than 600 new jobs in the local tourism sector.

“This is great boost for the Bass Coast, delivering 200 jobs during construction and hundreds more ongoing,” Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes said.

More than 700,000 tourists who come to see the much-loved penguin parade every year will benefit from the project. Ensuring a world-class visitor experience, 840,000 people are expected to visit Australia’s largest colony of little penguins annually by 2030.

“We’re creating a world-class visitor experience for the tens of thousands of people who travel from all over to see the penguin colony at our very own Phillip Island,” Member for Bass Jordan Crugnale said.

The visitor centre features spectacular architectural design and offers fun and interactive activities for the whole family. It includes state-of-the-art theatre and a range of dining and retail options. It will allow Philip Island Nature Parks to continue to carry out its globally recognised penguin research.

More than six hectares of penguin habitat on the site of the old visitor centre and coach parking areas have been restored to create homes for additional 1,400 breeding penguins.

“The restoration of vital habitat is a critical component of this development, creating homes for thousands of penguins and helping to secure the future of Australia’s largest Little Penguin colony,” Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said.

The Penguin Parade visitor centre will also eliminate all single-use plastics throughout its food outlets as part of the Andrews government’s policy to reduce the amount of plastic entering Victoria’s waterways and environment.

The development is one of 126 projects the Victorian Government has supported as part of the Local Jobs First program, assisting 35,000 local jobs. Nature Parks contribute just under $500 million to the state’s economy every year.

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