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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

1 November 2002

National Approach to the Management of Threatened Flying Foxes


The Commonwealth and States have agreed on a national approach to the management of both the Grey-headed Flying-fox and the Spectacled Flying-fox during the 2002-03 fruit season.

The Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, said the coordinated approach will provide greater certainty for fruit growers and enhanced management outcomes for both species during the upcoming fruit season.

The Grey-headed Flying-fox was listed as a threatened species under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 on 4 December 2001. It is found along the east coast of Australia, ranging from Bundaberg in Queensland to Melbourne and as far west as Warrnambool on the far west Victorian coast.

“The Commonwealth is pleased to work in partnership with New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria to develop a transparent approach to the management of Grey-headed Flying-foxes in fruit orchards,” Dr Kemp said.

“The national approach reduces duplication by agreeing that any person operating under a valid State permit for the management of Grey-headed Flying-foxes does not need to refer their activity to the Commonwealth for approval under the EPBC Act.”

This approach will remain in place as long as the overall number of Grey-headed Flying-foxes taken under State permits does not exceed the agreed maximum limit of 1.5% of the national population.

“In recognising the usefulness of this approach, I have also agreed with the Queensland Minister for Environment, the Hon Dean Wells MP, to implement a similar approach to manage Spectacled Flying-foxes in fruit orchards for the upcoming fruit season,” Dr Kemp said.

The Spectacled Flying-fox was listed as a threatened species on 14 May 2002. In Australia, the Spectacled Flying-fox is only found in and around the rainforests of north-east Queensland and the Torres Strait. The largest population is known from the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area between Townsville and Cooktown.

The Government recognises that flying-foxes can damage crops and that fruit growers must take measures to protect their livelihood, as long as it doesn’t affect the viability of the flying-fox populations.

“The decision to put a national management approach in place reflects the Commonwealth’s desire to manage a species effectively across its range – particularly species like the Grey-headed Flying-fox, which cross State borders.

“The national approach will be valid for the 2002-03 fruit season only. The effectiveness and sustainability of the approach will be reviewed in June 2003, prior to the next fruit season.

“To ensure that the necessary data is collected for a comprehensive review, I have allocated $24,000 for the continuation of the national counts of the Grey-headed Flying-fox population.”

“I also encourage the ongoing investigation of practical, cost-effective, non-lethal control methods for flying-foxes, as this represents the best solution for their long-term management throughout Australia.”

Copies of the Administrative Guidelines detailing the national approach for both the Grey-headed Flying-fox and the Spectacled Flying-fox are available by calling free-call 1800 803 772 or on the Internet at: http://www.deh.gov.au/about/whatsnew.html

Media contact:
Catherine Job (Dr Kemp) 02 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400

Commonwealth of Australia