Eurobodalla Shire Council to NSW Government: Help us stop the bats

BATALANCHE: The grey-headed flying foxes at the Batemans Bay Water Garden.

BATALANCHE: The grey-headed flying foxes at the Batemans Bay Water Garden.

The Country Mayors Association will ask the State Government to help the Eurobodalla and other shires deal with flying foxes.

Eurobodalla Mayor Lindsay Brown attended a Country Mayors Association meeting in Canberra on Friday, June 17.

“It was resolved the Country Mayors Association support Eurobodalla Shire and the many other impacted Councils to seek funding from relevant agencies and departments, both State and Federal, to manage the grey-headed flying fox, their habitat, and the impact on the local communities,” Cr Brown said.

Cr Brown, who is association vice-chairman, said he was surprised at the level of support from other councils and to hear of the effect of flying foxes on other NSW communities.

“We are going to work though (Bega MP) Andrew Constance to facilitate a meeting with the Environment Minister as soon as possible,” he said.

“The financial and social impact of the flying foxes is being born by local government, so we are going to ask for state government help.

“The Environmental Fund is a pool of money from people who have been fined for environmental violations, and we will be seeking access to that money.

“For an endangered species, there are a lot of them here and elsewhere.”

Cr Brown said the Eurobodalla council, along with others at the meeting, were determined to find a solution, “rather than jumping up and down and banging on the desk".

Other affected councils included Singleton, where a motel was said to have closed due to the proximity of flying foxes, Coonamble, Richmond Valley and Clarence Valley.

Clarence Valley Council has dealt with the flying foxes on and off for many years.

David Bancroft, spokesman for Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson, said a huge colony had occupied the grounds of a school.

“There was a colony of 60,000 that invaded Maclean High School in 1999,” he said.

“They destroyed their own habitat.

“They (those affected) tried to lure the bats away with sexy bat scent (pheromones), but this was unsuccessful.”

The bats usually moved from place to place of their own accord, and now a policy of “expeditional habitat,” establishing habitat by planting trees near rivers, was being tried, a “build it and they will go” approach.      

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