There can often be confusion regarding who manages flying-fox roosts in urban areas. Below we have provided the legislation-based explanation regarding the role of local and state governments in their management:
‘As-of-right’ authority to management flying-fox roosts
- Section 41A of the Nature Conservation (Wildlife Management) Regulation 2006 grants local governments an ‘as-of-right’ authority to manage flying-fox roosts in an Urban Flying-Fox Management Areas (UFFMA).
- This ‘as-of-right’ authority was introduced in response to some local governments seeking greater authority and flexibility to manage urban flying-fox roosts impacting their communities.
- This authority removes the need for local governments to obtain a permit or authority from the Department of Environment and Science (the department) to manage roosts within a UFFMA.
- If a roost is located outside an UFFMA or if they wish to use roost management measures not listed in the Code, a local government needs to obtain a permit or authority from the department.
- The as-of-right authority enables local governments to manage flying-fox roosts where they are of concern to their community and in line with the statutory Code of Practice – Ecologically sustainable management of flying-fox roosts, established under section 174A of the Nature Conservation Act 1992 (NC Act).
- The as-of-right authority does not oblige local governments to manage a roost.
- Many local governments’ in Queensland have published management plans, or Statements of Management Intent (SOMIs), for flying-fox roosts that make it clear that they take no responsibility for the management of flying-fox roosts other than on their own land.
- If a local government chooses not to exercise their as-of-right powers, the responsibility to manage the roost does not then fall to the State Government.
- This is because responsibility for managing native animal issues remains with the landowner or manager, with the Department of Environment and Science (the department) as the regulator.
Role of the Department of Environment and Science
- The Department of Environment and Science (the department) regulates by setting the legal ‘rules’ for how roosts can be managed and assessing and approving permit applications under the NC Act.
- The Department of Environment and Science (DES) works closely with many local governments to support them in managing flying-fox roosts including:
- providing materials such as a comprehensive flying-fox roost management guideline and online material to help the community understand the management, conservation and health issues associated with flying-fox roosts
- participating in several regional working groups
- providing advice and information to local governments
- funding a three-year $2.8 million research program on the ecology, behaviour and management of little red flying-foxes
- working directly with specific local governments with high conflict roost to ensure that they understand their management options, and regulatory obligations.
- The Queensland Government allocated $1.3 million to flying-fox roost management and research in 2019-20.
Flying-fox management outside of Urban Flying Fox Management Areas
- Private landholders can apply for flying-fox roost management permits to disperse flying-foxes from roosts on their land, or to modify the roost, for example, removing branches or whole trees close to their properties.
- Local governments and residents can access a specific localised version the UFFMA map using a property search function on the department’s website at: https://environment.des.qld.gov.au/wildlife/animals/living-with/bats/flying-foxes/management-areas/map-request
Flying-fox management in the Noosa local government area
- While there is not an indicative UFFMA map for the Noosa Local Government Area (LGA), the indicative map for the Sunshine Coast covers the Noosa area https://environment.des.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0037/89497/sunshine-coast-regional.pdf
- A specific Noosa LGA indicative UFFMA map will be released in the next round of map updates.
Should you have any concerns regarding local flying-fox roosts within the Noosa Urban Flying-Fox Management Area, please contact Noosa Council on 5329 6500 or email@example.com or alternatively contact your local Councillors https://www.noosa.qld.gov.au/about-council/councillors-meetings/mayor-and-councillors