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 (the Act) to manage flying-fox roosts in Urban Flying-Fox Management Areas (UFFMA).

    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 (PDF, 393.4KB) . The code of practice ensures acceptable welfare outcomes for flying foxes.

    If a local government does commit to roost management activities under the code of practice, it has a number of actions at its disposal including destroying a roost, dispersing the roost, or modifying a part of the roost through tree trimming and/or removal of roost trees. The code of practice and the Flying-fox roost management guideline (PDF, 872.1KB) 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 under the EPBC Act in the event of likely significant impact.

    New trial notification form for as-of-right flying-fox roost management actions

    The government is committed to improving the management of flying-foxes in Queensland, and as part of its comprehensive review of the roost management framework, has developed a new online notification form for local governments undertaking as-of-right flying-fox roost management actions. This form will replace the previous manual form, and will be trialled for a period of 3–4 months while feedback is collected from local governments to inform the final release of the form in late 2019.

    Key changes to the form from the previous version include:

    • the more intensive the management action the more information is required, and vice versa—this will allow councils who are implementing low-level actions, such as tree-trimming, to complete the notification process much more quickly
    • less focus on management methods (which are already prescribed in the code of practice) and more focus on management outcomes, which will lead to more effective, targeted management actions.

    Local government can submit their notifications using the Local government flying-fox roost management notification form.

    Any feedback on the form itself can be submitted to the department at .

    Please note that the form is only applicable to local governments undertaking as-of-right management actions under the Nature Conservation Act 1992. Individuals and local governments notifying the department under a Flying-Fox Roost Management Permit should continue to submit a Notification form—Proposed flying-fox roost management actions (DOC, 162.5KB) .

    Flying-fox roost management permits

    Local governments wishing to either conduct non-code compliant activities within an UFFMA or manage a roost outside of an UFFMA are required to obtain a flying-fox roost management permit (DOC, 391.0KB) (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 Nature Conservation Act 1992 or the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 as well as the Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

    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 (PDF, 221.4KB) Low impact activities include weeding, mulching, mowing or minor tree trimming.

    Operating outside of the code of practice is not authorised and 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 their communities, they may develop and publish a Statement of Management Intent (SoMI). For more information about a SoMI refer to page four of the Flying-fox roost management guideline (PDF, 872.1KB) .

    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 (PDF, 136.0KB) that councils can use to prepare a Statement of Management Intent is available on this website as a guide).

    The Nature Conservation Act 1992 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 in the Code of practice—Ecologically sustainable management of flying-fox roosts (PDF, 393.4KB) 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 identify alternative sites where new roosts may be encouraged, or left to establish with minimal intervention.

    An attempt by anyone other than a local government to manage or disperse a flying-fox roost requires a flying-fox roost management permit.

    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. Widespread culling of flying-foxes will not be authorised.

    Improving our understanding of flying-fox roost management

    The department is committed to improving the current 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 in urban areas despite the application of various management interventions by local governments.

    The biology and behaviour of flying-foxes, and little red flying-foxes in particular, are poorly understood and further scientific research is required to better inform the management of these animals at flying-fox roost sites.

    To support this, in June 2016, the Minister announced a $2.7 million program over three years to improve our understanding and management of flying-fox roosts in urban areas. This important scientific work is intended to facilitate improved practices for management of urban flying-fox roosts, leading to a reduction in negative impacts on communities. The program is being implemented in collaboration with the local councils and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

    Further information and forms

    Flying-fox management notifications

    Local government notifications for proposed as-of-right flying-fox management activities in urban flying-fox management areas from 1 January 2020 to present
    Local Government Area (LGA)Total per LGARoost locationCount of notifications per roost location
    Townsville City Council2Palmetum1
    Dan Gleeson Gardens1
    Grand total2 2
    Summary of local government notifications for proposed as-of-right flying-fox management activities in urban flying-fox management areas from 2013 to 2019
    YearNumber of councilsNumber of roostsNumber of notifications
    Number of approved flying-fox roost management permits (FFRMP) 1 January 2018 to present
    Local Government Area (LGA)CouncilPrivateGrand total
    Grand total145
    Summary of flying-fox roost management permits (FFRMP) issued per year 2013–2017
    YearNo. of FFRMPs: councilNo. of FFRMPs: privateTotal no. of FFRMPs

    More information

    Refer to the flying-foxes: questions and answers for more information

    Available from the library catalogue

    The documents referred to on this page are available from the department’s online library catalogue.