Cairns Flying-fox Relocation

Council acknowledges that spectacled flying-foxes are an important part of the natural environment and is concerned that leaving them at the roost in the CBD will result in further negative impacts upon them.

The aim of ‘relocation’ is to encourage the spectacled flying-fox colony at the Cairns City Library to move to a more suitable roost site in the Cairns Central Swamp.

Relocation efforts commence on 4 July 2020 and will happen on the morning fly-in period between 4am and 7am.

During the relocation, you may see flying-foxes overhead where they live and work.

Don’t be alarmed! The bats are simply moving to their new home at the Cairns Central Swamp.

A team of technicians will be out and about helping move the bats to their new home.

While it is difficult to predict flying-fox behaviour, we are hopeful this activity will move the flying-foxes to their new home as quickly as possible.

Remember:

  • Do not harass bats with noise or threatening behaviour as they fly-over as this may bring harm to you or the bats and is illegal.
  • If you find bats in your backyard - do not touch them! Call Wildlife Carers FNQ on 4281 6869.
  • If you see a fallen or injured bat – do not touch it! Call Wildlife Carers FNQ on 4281 6869.

For more information download the Flying-fox Relocation: Your Questions Answered Brochure ( PDF, 1.37 MB )

Cairns Flying-fox Relocation Management Plan

Cairns Regional Council has received approval from the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) to implement deterrent measures to disperse and permanently relocate a nationally important population of Spectacled Flying-fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) currently roosting at the Cairns City Library,151 Abbott Street. The objective is to relocate the Cairns City Flying-fox colony to a suitable alternative site.

The proposed action has been referred under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and determined to be a “controlled action” under the EPBC Act to be assessed on Preliminary Documentation. The controlling provision under the EPBC Act is - ‘Listed threatened species and ecological communities’ (Sections 18 and 18A), specifically the endangered Spectacled Flying-fox (Pteropus conspicillatus).

An Implementation Plan ( PDF, 1.51 MB ), prepared by independent consultants and approved by the Federal regulator, will be implemented. The plan involves several steps ahead of, during and subsequent to the relocation activity.

The relocation activity will be undertaken by appropriately qualified and experienced individuals and non-lethal methods will be used.

Council’s Flying-fox Relocation Group will now develop an Operation Plan cognisant of the conditions set by the Federal regulator and commitments made in the Implementation Plan. The Operation Plan will detail steps required to relocate the colony to a suitable relocation site that has been identified in Cairns Central Swamp.

  • Cairns Regional Council published the Final Preliminary Documentation for information purposes only in accordance with Part 16.03 [5 - 7] of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Regulations 2000 [EPBC Regulations]. Copies of the Final Preliminary Documentation Report (including all attachments) were available to be viewed for information only for 20 business days between the 23 March 2020 until C.O.B Friday 17 April 2020.
  • Cairns Regional Council, in accordance with Section 95A(3) of the EPBC Act,  published the Preliminary Documentation for public comment. Copies of the Preliminary Documentation Report (including all attachments) were made available for public comment from 6 January 2020 until C.O.B Friday 31 January 2020.
  • Council has been in discussions with the Federal regulator since April 2019.

PUBLICATION OF FINAL PRELIMINARY DOCUMENTATION UNDER THE ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION AND BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION ACT 1999 (EPBC ACT) - FOR INFORMATION ONLY.

EPBC 2019/8424 - Flying-fox relocation measures, 151 Abbott Street, Cairns, Queensland.

Cairns Regional Council proposes to relocate a roosting colony of Spectacled Flying-fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) currently at the Cairns City Library. The objective is to relocate the Cairns City Flying-fox colony to a suitable alternative site.

The proposed action has been referred under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and determined to be a “controlled action” under the EPBC Act to be assessed on Preliminary Documentation. The controlling provision under the EPBC Act is - ‘Listed threatened species and ecological communities’ (Sections 18 and 18A), specifically the endangered Spectacled Flying-fox (Pteropus conspicillatus).

Viewing the Final Preliminary Documentation Report.

In accordance with Section 95B(2) of the of the EPBC Act, the Final Preliminary Documentation is now available for viewing:

The Final Preliminary Documentation is available for viewing at the following locations:

  • Cairns City Library – 151 Abbott St, Cairns QLD 4870.
  • Cairns Regional Council – 119-145 Spence Street, Cairns QLD 4870.
  • State Library of Queensland – Cultural Precinct, Stanley Place, South Bank, Brisbane QLD 4101

Copies of the Final Preliminary Documentation Report (including all attachments) will be available to be viewed for information only for 20 business days between the 23 March 2020 until C.O.B Friday 17 April 2020.

Persons with special needs (e.g. for whom English is a second language or who have vision impairment) are encouraged to contact Council (Phone 1300 69 22 47) to discuss their needs.

    PUBLICATION OF PROPOSED PRELIMINARY DOCUMENTATION UNDER THE ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION AND BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION ACT 1999 (EPBC ACT)

    Cairns Regional Council is seeking approval to carry out the NRA 2019, Cairns Flying-fox Relocation Management Plan, R07 ( PDF, 8.28 MB ), prepared by NRA Environmental Consultants for Cairns Regional Council, 13 December 2019.

    The proposed action is that of active management to relocate a roosting colony of Spectacled Flying-fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) currently at the Cairns City Library. The objective is to relocate the Cairns City Flying-fox colony to a suitable alternative site.

    This action was determined to be a Controlled Action under the EPBC Act with a Preliminary Documentation level of assessment. The controlling provision is Subdivision C - ‘Listed threatened species and ecological communities’ (Sections 18 and 18A), specifically the endangered Spectacled Flying-fox (Pteropus conspicillatus).

    The public consultation period (6/1/2020 31/1/2020) closed 5pm AEST Friday 31 January 2020

Next steps:

  • Council to address comments. Section 95B of the EPBC Act  states that as soon as practicable after the public comment period has closed, the proponent (Cairns Region Council) must prepare the document addressing comments received and provide the Minister with a copy of the document prepared and a copy of the comments received. The document:
    • includes revised draft preliminary documentation, with any changes or additions needed to take account of the comments (i.e. the final preliminary documentation); and
    • contains a summary of the comments received and how those comments have been addressed (usually a cross-reference table to the revised draft preliminary documentation).
  • The Department of Environment and Energy will complete the assessment process including the preparation of the recommendation report for the Minister advising whether the proposed action should be refused or approved and any conditions which should be attached to an approval. Council will have an opportunity to comment on the proposed decision of approval and any proposed conditions.

Next steps:

  • Cairns Regional Council has now published the Final Preliminary Documentation for information purposes only in accordance with Part 16.03 [5 - 7] of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Regulations 2000 [EPBC Regulations].
  • Copies of the Final Preliminary Documentation Report (including all attachments) will be available to be viewed for information only for 20 business days between the 23 March 2020 until C.O.B Friday 17 April 2020.
  • The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) will complete the assessment process including the preparation of the recommendation report for the Minister advising whether the proposed action should be refused or approved and any conditions which should be attached to an approval.
  • Council will have an opportunity to comment on the proposed decision of approval and any proposed conditions.

The following is a summary update of where CRC is at in regard to getting approval to relocate the Flying Fox’s from the CBD Library Camp as per Councils resolution.

  • Following Januarys public comment period, staff reviewed comments, provided a response to the 596 submissions received and lodged our formal response to the department, now named Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) formally DoEE on Monday March 9th.
  • Council is now required to publish a notice in relevant news media announcing that all preliminary documentation is available for viewing, this is not a public comment period, this is a public notification period of Councils intent under the relevant EPBC regulations. This period of notification is 20 business days and this notice will appear in print this Monday coming 23rd March. This preliminary finalized documentation will also be available at Spence Street, the City Library and on our web-site.
  • DAWE are now in the 40 business day assessment of our application, we now anticipate a decision by the 9th April. We understand this is the point where we will receive formal conditional approval.
  • One of the conditions of approval will be the requirement for DAWE to sign off on our Implementation Plan, this aspect is currently under development by our consultants NRA.
  • DAWE officers will be visiting Cairns in late March (hopefully) to provide us with draft approval conditions and to also analyse our Implementation Plan in draft format. If they can’t visit the feedback will be conducted by conference link.
  • Our estimation is that by the time the Implementation Plan is approved by DAWE we will be well into late May early June.
  • Our intent is to commence works as soon as approved, again our estimation, but likely to be July/August still in the safe period to conduct active dispersals.
  • Further updates will be provided in due course.
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Last updated: 31 July 2020