Stakeholder Perspectives on a Code of Practice with Legislative Status Relating to Flying-Fox Camp Management
Flying-fox camps near human settlements represent a contentious issue that requires management to alleviate the impacts on communities. In New South Wales, land managers undertaking flying-fox camp management actions require a defence to a prosecution for an offence under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 for those activities. During 2018, the New South Wales Government released a draft code of practice for public exhibition, which was proposed to be made under the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017 and thus have legislative status to provide public land managers with an alternative to licensing for undertaking flying-fox camp management actions. During public exhibition, there were 99 public submissions received. The purpose of this paper was to examine stakeholder views on the proposed document and, more broadly, perspectives on flying-fox camp management expressed in public submissions. There were highly polarised views on both flying-foxes and their management and whether a code of practice with legislative status was appropriate for authorising flying-fox camp management actions. The majority of public submissions were not supportive of the draft code of practice, with many referring to the existing licensing framework as a more appropriate regulatory option. There were also concerns that the draft code of practice could potentially result in a marked increase in camp dispersals; however, this did not happen, most likely due to safeguards built into the resulting code of practice. This outcome demonstrates the importance of the public consultation process undertaken.