Authorised flying-fox roost management
Management of flying-fox roosts
The Queensland Government recognises the need for urban flying-fox roosts to be managed in a way that addresses both community expectations and the long-term conservation of flying-foxes, which play an important role as pollinators for many native plant species.
Local governments’ as-of-right authority to manage flying-fox roosts
The Government also recognises the important role local governments continue to play in managing issues around flying-fox roosts in urban areas. Local governments have an as-of right authority under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 (NCA) to manage flying-fox roosts in Urban Flying-Fox Management Areas (UFFMA) within each local government area.
The as-of-right management activities are limited to non-lethal methods, and may only be undertaken in accordance with the Code of practice—Ecologically sustainable management of flying-fox roosts . Meeting the requirements of the code of practice ensures acceptable welfare outcomes for flying-foxes.
If a local government commits to roost management activities under the code of practice, it has a number of actions at its disposal including destroying a roost, driving flying-foxes away from a roost, or moving flying-foxes within a roost e.g. using water sprinklers or floodlighting or tree trimming to create a ‘buffer’ between flying-foxes and residences. The code of practice and the Flying-fox roost management guideline assists decision-making regarding management options at flying-fox roosts.
Activities affecting the spectacled flying-fox and grey-headed flying-fox may be subject to referral to the Commonwealth Government under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) in the event of likely significant impact.
Flying-fox roost management framework review
In 2018 the Queensland Government began a comprehensive review of the flying-fox roost management framework.
Throughout 2018 and 2019 the department undertook four rounds of consultation with the Local Government Association of Queensland, relevant councils as well as scientific experts and conservation groups on the Flying-Fox Roost Management Codes of Practice and Roost Management Guideline, to ensure the new framework met the needs of local governments and their communities impacted by flying-fox roosts, as well as those of conservation and animal welfare groups.
The review produced a balanced framework which provides councils with a better range of options to be able to effectively manage urban flying-fox roosts, while at the same time ensuring conservation and welfare outcomes for all species of flying-fox. A new online notification and evaluation web form were also introduced as part of this review, enabling better data collection while reducing paperwork for councils.
Flying-fox roost management permits
Local governments wishing to either conduct activities within an UFFMA that are inconsistent with a code of practice, or to manage a roost outside of an UFFMA, are required to obtain a flying-fox roost management permit (FFRMP) from the department. Individuals may also apply for a FFRMP.
Operating outside of the code of practice, or outside of an UFFMA without a FFRMP is not authorised and may have legal consequences. For example, actions could breach sections of the NCA or the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 as well as the Commonwealth EPBC Act.
Determining when a congregation of flying-foxes meets the statutory definition of a flying-fox roost
In Queensland, the NCA is the primary legislation that regulates flying-fox roost management. Section 88C of the NCA prohibits the destruction of a flying-fox roost, driving away or attempting to drive away flying-foxes from a roost and the disturbance of a flying-fox in a roost, unless a person is authorised to do so.
Many places/trees where flying-foxes congregate are occupied regularly, and clearly meet the definition of a flying-fox roost under section 88C. However, in some cases the circumstances are more complex, particularly in relation to newly established sites or sites that are infrequently occupied by flying-foxes.
The ‘Interim policy for determining when a flying-fox congregation is regarded as a flying-fox roost under section 88C of the Nature Conservation Act 1992 ’ has been drafted to address and help clarify key aspects of the flying-fox roost definition and provides a consistent application of the definition, whilst having regard to the variable nature of flying-fox biology and behaviour. This Interim policy is available to guide decisions by departmental officers, local governments and/or their agents, environmental consultants and landholders.
Flying-fox roost management notification form
Authorised management under the Code of practice—Ecologically sustainable management of flying-fox roosts requires that the department be notified at least two business days prior to commencing any roost management actions. The purpose of notification is to enable the department to know the type and extent of authorised flying-fox roost management actions being undertaken across Queensland.
Flying-fox roost management evaluation form
The purpose of this evaluation form is to enable the department to record the outcome of authorised flying-fox roost management actions being undertaken in order to share information and improve roost management practices and conservation outcomes for flying-foxes in Queensland. This form also satisfies the requirements of a Return of Operations for activities conducted under an FFRMP.
Low impact activities affecting flying-fox roosts
All persons are authorised to undertake low impact activities at roosts in accordance with the Code of practice—Low impact activities affecting flying-fox roosts . Low impact activities include weeding, mulching, mowing or minor tree trimming. If you have any specific questions please refer to Flying-foxes: questions and answers.
Operating outside of the code of practice without an authority may have legal consequences.
Statements of management intent
A key element of any flying-fox management program is the provision of information, particularly for those urban areas directly affected by flying-fox roosts. To assist local governments in engaging with their communities, the local government may develop and publish a Statement of Management Intent (SoMI). For more information about a SoMI refer to the Flying-fox roost management guideline .
The statement will articulate a local government’s plans for how it will manage both existing and new roosts in its UFFMA and ensure that communities are well informed about how their local government will deal with flying-fox roosts. A template that councils can use to prepare a SOMI is available on this website as a guide.
The NCA has been amended to give the Minister for Environment and Science the ability to require a local government to develop and publish a Statement of Management Intent for roost management in its UFFMA. Examples of where this action may be taken include situations where there is a potential breach of the Code of practice—Ecologically sustainable management of flying-fox roosts or where there has been inadequate community engagement.
Flying-fox management plans
Local governments also have the option to develop a flying-fox management plan to cover their entire local government area. If the plan is endorsed by the department, local governments will be able to be granted a three-year approval to manage flying-fox roosts outside of urban areas. This will reduce the need for reactive requests for approvals for individual roost sites outside of urban areas.
A whole-of-local government area flying-fox management plan could identify areas where flying-foxes roosts may be problematic and where flying-foxes should be discouraged from roosting. It could also be used to identify alternative sites where new roosts may be encouraged or left to become established with minimal human intervention.
An attempt by anyone other than a local government to manage or disperse a flying-fox roost requires a FFRMP.
While the health and well-being of people is central to the Queensland Government’s new approach, the sustainability of Queensland’s flying-fox species will not be put at risk. The culling of flying-foxes at roost sites will not be authorised.
Improving our understanding of flying-fox roost management
The department is committed to continually improving the flying-fox roost management framework so that the arrangements in place are effective, based on sound science, and do not put Queensland’s flying-fox populations at risk.
The management of urban flying-fox roosts has remained problematic for decades despite the application of various management interventions by local governments.
The biology and behaviour of flying-foxes, little red flying-foxes in particular, has been poorly understood and further scientific research was required to better inform the management of these animals at flying-fox roosts.
To support this, in June 2016, the Government initiated a $2.7 million research program to collect information to improve our understanding and management of flying-fox roosts in urban areas. The program was implemented in collaboration with local governments and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). The department is currently developing communication and guidance material based on research outcomes from the project for use by land managers, particularly local governments.
Further information and forms
- Notification form—Flying-fox roost management
- Evaluation form—Flying-fox roost management
- Template—Statement of Management Intent
- Code of practice—Low impact activities affecting flying-fox roosts
- Code of practice—Ecologically sustainable management of flying-fox roosts
- Guideline—Flying-fox roost management
- Application form—Flying-fox roost management permit
- Flying-foxes: questions and answers
- Interim policy for determining when a flying-fox congregation is regarded as flying-fox roost under section 88C of the Nature Conservation Act 1992
Available from the library catalogue
The documents referred to on this page are available from the department’s online library catalogue.
Flying-fox roost management notifications
|Local Government Area (LGA)||Total per LGA||Roost location||Count of notifications per roost location|
|Burdekin Regional Council||4||Kidby Gully||4|
|Cairns Regional Council||17||
|Charters Towers Regional Council||3||
|Cloncurry Shire Council||1||Cloncurry||1|
|Gold Coast City Council||4||
|Gympie Regional Council||2||Commissioners Gully||2|
|Hinchinbrook Shire Council||9||Ingham Memorial Gardens||9|
|Ipswich City Council||1||Nerima Gardens||1|
|Isaac Regional Council||2||Centenary Park||2|
|Moreton Bay Regional Council||16||
Redcliffe Botanical Gardens|
|Noosa Shire Council||1||Waratah Reserve||1|
|Rockhampton Regional Council||11||
|Sunshine Coast Council||3||
Kawana Waters College
|Townsville City Council||19||
|Whitsunday Regional Council||4||Pelican Park||4|
|Year||Number of councils||Number of roosts||Number of notifications|
|Local Government Area (LGA)||Council||Private||Grand total|
|Year||No. of FFRMPs: council||No. of FFRMPs: private||Total no. of FFRMPs|