The Minister for the Environment and Energy, the Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, first wrote to the Committee about the issue of flying-foxes in mid-October 2016, asking that the Committee consider conducting an inquiry into the increasing tensions being experienced by residents affected by flying-fox camps.
The Committee considered this request and received briefings on the issue, including from the Member for Hunter, the Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP. These briefings provided a good insight into the tensions being felt in some parts of the eastern states of Australia, where nationally-protected flying-fox camps impact on communities due to increased urban roosting.
Recognising that the impact of flying-foxes in the eastern states is an important issue for affected communities in particular, the Committee decided to carry out a short inquiry to identify areas for improvement in the timeliest way possible.
In order to gather evidence from the relevant stakeholders and experts within the agreed timeframe, the Committee conducted a roundtable public hearing in Canberra. This enabled productive engagement with a wide range of experts and representatives of affected communities. The Committee also received a range of written submissions and correspondence outlining stakeholder experiences and community concerns about local flying-fox issues.
The Committee is grateful to all stakeholders for taking the time to participate in the roundtable or provide written evidence to the inquiry. The breadth of expert knowledge on the complex relationship between flying-foxes and humans made a particularly strong contribution to the inquiry, and the Committee appreciates the willingness of these experts to provide their insights to the Committee, particularly within the necessarily tight timeframe.
The Committee considers that the recommendations made in this report will help to better support local communities to understand and plan the appropriate actions required to effectively manage flying-foxes, and will deliver much-needed coordination across all levels of government.
I would like to thank Committee members for their enthusiastic engagement with this inquiry and their commitment to facilitating timely and meaningful change in the management of nationally protected flying-foxes.
Andrew Broad MP