The Flying Fox case, north Queensland – Biodiversity - EDO NSW

The Flying Fox case, north Queensland – Biodiversity

In the first legal action ever taken under Australia’s current federal environment laws, EDO Qld acted for conservationist Carol Booth in a case that halted the large-scale electrocution of spectacled flying-foxes on a lychee property in north Queensland and led to the end of government-permitted electrocution of flying-foxes.

This case in the Federal Court under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act) demonstrated that the Act could be used to regulate actions taken outside a World Heritage Area that were likely to have a significant impact on its values.

The Court found that an estimated 18,000 spectacled flying-foxes were electrocuted during the 2000 lychee season, and that continued operation of the grid would cause the species to become endangered within five years. This decline would undermine the capacity of the spectacled flying-fox to contribute to the genetic and biological diversity of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Justice Branson held that the loss of a single species could constitute a significant impact on the world heritage values of a World Heritage property.