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Democrats go into bat for flying foxes.



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Senator Lyn Allison Senator for Victoria

Press Release Dated: 3 Apr 2001 Press Release Number: 01/207 Portfolio: Animal Welfare Related: Environment

Democrats go into bat for flying foxes The Australian Democrats took the struggle to halt the killing of 1000 grey-headed flying foxes at the Royal Botanic Gardens back to the Senate today, in a quest for the Environment Minister to use his power under the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act to list the grey-headed flying fox as threatened.

Democrats Senator for Victoria, Lyn Allison, moved a motion today noting that there is no permanent breeding colony for the species in Victoria other than the Botanic Gardens.

Senator Allison said, “The Victorian Minister for the Environment and Conservation has gone against the advice of her scientific committee and decided not to list the grey-headed flying fox as a threatened species under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1998.

“This is the first time a Victorian Environment Minister has not accepted the advice of the scientific committee on the listing of a threatened species under the Act.”

Senator Allison asked the Senate to note that the species was classified as ‘vulnerable to extinction’ in the Action Plan for Australian Bats, produced by the Natural Heritage Trust.

“The Victorian Environment Minister should be seeking an alternative site for the bat colony along the Yarra River. The Minister should instruct the Director of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens to manage the gardens for both the benefit of the bats and existing botanic specimens.”

Senator Allison repeated her call for the Federal Minister for the Environment to:

(i) seek urgent advice from the Threatened Species Scientific Committee on the listing of the grey-headed flying fox under the Environment Protection

and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999,

(ii) upon the listing of the grey-headed flying fox under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, designate the proposed bat kill in the Melbourne Botanic Gardens as a ‘controlled action’ instigating full impact assessment procedures,

(iii) advise the Senate on the potential detrimental effect upon World Heritage Listed rainforests in south-east Australia of killing large numbers of grey-headed flying fox,

(iv) if the above advice indicates that the values of the listed World Heritage sites may be damaged by the killing of grey-headed flying fox in Melbourne’s Botanic Gardens, seek an injunction to stop the kill under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and

(v) write to the Victorian Minister asking her to stop the kill, in any event, until the Commonwealth has reviewed the conservation status of the bat.

The Democrats and Greens supported the motion but Labor and the Coaltion blocked it.

 

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