#Animal Welfare
Queensland Parliament

• The spectacled flying fox, a listed vulnerable species under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act), has had a nationally recognised and long-established camp site/nursery colony in the heritage listed trees around the Cairns library and on vacant land adjacent to the Novotel Oasis resort.

• This camp may contain as much as 10% of the total Australian population of this species which has a significant role as a pollinator and seed disperser in maintaining the biodiversity of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

• In March 2013 the lawyers representing the Novotel Oasis Resort sent a letter to Council complaining that the vacant land between the Novotel Oasis resort was being devalued and difficult to sell because of the presence of flying foxes. They demanded that Council act to remedy the situation and threatened legal action if they didn’t.

• Council subsequently applied in August 2013 for approval to trim roost trees on the library and Novotel sites under the EPBC Act and approval was granted in September 2013.

• Tree lopping activities carried out by Council in April/May 2014 exceeded the permissible limits set under the Heritage Act and Council has been issued with infringement notices totalling $14,000. The contractor, Garden Friendly Mulchers, were also issued with $11,000 of infringement notices for carrying out the offending works.

• These tree lopping activities also reduced the carrying capacity of the well-established roost trees at the library and adjacent to the Oasis resort. This has resulted in the colony dispersing into additional trees, even palm trees, in front of the Oasis resort in Lake Street, along Florence Street, Abbott Street and even in Shield Street.

• The creation of a new CBD parkland would provide this flying fox colony a secure camp area for breeding and roosting and prevent the need for them to disperse over a wider area. This would also provide opportunities for tourist operators to showcase the roosting flying foxes and evening flyout to tourists visiting the area for its world heritage listed flora, fauna and environmental values.

To: The Honourable the Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland

The petition of residents of the State of Queensland draws to the attention of the House to the current threatened situation of the nationally significant Cairns CBD spectacled flying fox colony and the need to establish a dedicated parkland to provide a secure breeding and camp site for this colony.

Your petitioners therefore request the House to reacquire the parcel of land, formerly part of the grounds of the Cairns Central State School, between the Novotel Oasis resort and Aplin Street and to convert it, along with Aplin Street between Lake and Abbott Streets, into a CBD parkland.

This parkland should merge with the existing heritage listed library grounds and contain additional trees suitable for roosting flying foxes and a flying fox viewing area with interpretative signage.

The Support a Cairns CBD Parkland and Flying Fox Roosting Area petition to Queensland Parliament was written by Environmental Defenders Office of Northern Queensland and is in the category Animal Welfare at GoPetition.