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Democrats vindicated on flying foxes and EPBC.

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Senator Lyn Allison Australian Democrats Senator for Victoria

11 December 2001 MEDIA RELEASE 01/744

Democrats vindicated on flying foxes and EPBC The Australian Democrats welcome the decision to list as vulnerable, the grey headed flying fox species, including those found in the Melbourne and Sydney’s Botanic Gardens, under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC).

Democrats Senator for Victoria, Lyn Allison, said, “Flying foxes can no longer be killed, forcibly moved or otherwise interfered with, without the approval of the Federal Environment Minister.

“This is a victory of science over hysteria and further evidence that the Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act is working to protect biodiversity.”

The Democrats prompted this decision in the Senate earlier this year. (Notice of Motion 877, 28 March 2001)

Senator Allison said, “There is no permanent breeding colony for the species in Victoria other than the Botanic Gardens and these animals range from Queensland to Victoria. Had the Gardens continued to shoot these flying foxes, the entire population would eventually be wiped out.

“Grey Headed Flying Foxes are a great attraction in the Sydney Botanic Gardens where much more responsible and innovative approaches are being taken to dissuade them from roosting in heritage trees. The Melbourne Botanic Gardens and the State Government should learn from this example instead of creating fear and antagonism towards these animals.”

The Democrats supported the EPBC Act, moving 400 successful amendments to further strengthen Federal environment powers.

“The State Government will need to ensure that its attempts to transfer Melbourne’s colony of flying foxes to the Yarra River at Ivanhoe are scientifically sound and not just a face-saving measure,” Senator Allison concluded.

Further Information: John Derry 03 9416 1880 or 0408 056 167