Erin Smith

New flying foxes procedure created to minimise problems

QUEENSLAND councils now have the power to move flying fox roosts causing problems in their urban areas as they see fit.

They can now sidestep the Queensland Government when making decisions about the best way to disperse the animals, modify their roosts or move them on.

Farmers who can show they have suffered economic loss from flying fox damage must still apply for state-issued damage mitigation permits to shoot the problem animals.

The smell, noise, economic loss and risks to public health from flying foxes, and the LNP's decision to allow some farmers to shoot the pests, has generated much debate in the past year.

Environment Minister Andrew Powell said the government was putting the health and well-being of communities ahead of problem flying fox colonies.

He said the new measures, which mean councils do not have to apply for state-issued permits, would make it easier for local communities to minimise the problems.

Mr Powell said the permit exceptions would apply to designated urban areas where councils must make decisions consistent with an agreed Code of Practice and related laws.

"Put simply, councils will have greater authority to make decisions in the best interests of their local community about problem flying fox roosts," he said.

"Councils will be able to respond more rapidly and proactively to community concerns.

"Flying fox dispersal is a complex issue and consideration has to be given to where the animals may go once they are moved on.

"We believe those decisions are best left to those local governments that are already managing flying fox roosts at an operational level."

Councils can still apply for damage mitigation permits outside the designated urban areas in each region.

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