Photo © Nick Edards
The Queensland Government proposes to allow local authorities to move on flying fox camps without applying for damage mitigation permits. The Environment and Heritage Protection Minister Hon Andrew Powell M.P. said it was in line with the Newman Government’s war on ‘green tape’. In designated urban areas, councils will be given ‘as of right’ authority to make their own decisions to disperse or otherwise manage flying fox roosts consistent with a Code of Practice. There will be no change to existing measures which allow farmers to apply for a lethal damage mitigation permit (strongly opposed by Wildlife Queensland).
In the Minister’s own words ‘Flying fox dispersal is a complex issue and consideration has to be given to where the animals may go once they are moved on’. Wildlife Queensland has major concerns that the new policy will increase unnecessary dispersals and perpetuate conflict about flying-foxes and that many local authorities do not have the expertise to undertake dispersals humanely and effectively.
The ‘as of right’ authority will apply for the non-lethal removal or modification of roosts and the dispersal of animals, and would need to comply with Commonwealth, state and local government laws.
Two species – the spectacled and grey-headed flying fox – are listed as threatened under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Wildlife Queensland considers that the relaxation of current regulations and policy is likely to cause more problems than it solves. Below are principles and foundations for effective urban camp management to assist in the formation of sound policy on the matter.
The principles listed on Wildlife Queensland’s website reinforce the complexity of the issue. Assuming an opportunity presents, Wildlife Queensland will certainly be commenting on the Code yet to be released. The urban myths concerning flying foxes must be set aside. Coexistence can occur and can be achieved with sound ecologically sustainable decision-making and community cooperation.
For more information on this issue visit http://www.wildlife.org.au/news/2013/flyingfoxes.html.
To learn more about Wildlife Queensland’s activities, call +61 7 3221 0194 or visit http://www.wildlife.org.au/index.html.