The town of Bateman's Bay is currently a temporary home to a large number of Federally listed as vulnerable to extinction, Grey-headed flying-foxes and the residents want them gone.
The flying-foxes are there because there is a large flowering event and once flowering has ended, most will leave and head north.
The Federal Environment Minister hosted a meeting with the residents of Bateman's Bay on Monday night and the following are direct quotes from Mr. Hunt (as reported by an attendee).
"Question: Why not get the army and burn them, like they did in Queensland?
Answer: (Greg Hunt) We have given Council the complete freedom to do as they choose. Any Federal barrier is now removed.
We are working through exemptions so that there is a free hand. If you want to clear the water gardens, we can and will give money to support that. I question whether their status as threatened is legitimate. Their status is, however, no barrier to dispersal. We just need to make sure they don't go from one place to another. "
“They were previously listed as threatened by a previous government. It's our watch now”.
It's our watch now. Mr. Hunt has proven time and time again that he has no respect nor regard not only for flying-foxes but other vulnerable species such as dugongs and turtles to name just a few.
Grey-headed flying-fox populations are plummeting due in part to habitat destruction which is why they are moving into urban areas.
The more land that is cleared, the greater the conflict with humans and Mr. Hunt's ignorant decision allowing councils free reign will see more habitat destroyed. It's a vicious cycle and one that is clearly beyond Mr. Hunt's comprehension.
Please, stand up and wave a fist (in a polite and respectful manner) at this unscientific and myopic excuse for a Federal Environment Minister.
The fate of a gentle, sentient, ecologically vital and endemic species is resting on the decisions of a an incompetent clod who possesses no knowledge nor science to justify his decrees.
Minister Hunt can be contacted via email at Greg.Hunt.MP@environment.gov.au
Overseas emails are welcome.
For those of you who would like to provide a submission here is the ink Batemans Bay flying fox camp Draft Dispersal Plan
Just as a point of interest, we are having a Federal election in July which may explain Mr. Hunts eagerness to side with the humans and betray the portfolio that he is charged with protecting.
At the ordinary meeting on Tuesday 10 May, Council voted to provide a two-week consultation period for the community to have their say about whether or not to attempt to disperse the Batemans Bay flying fox camp.
The plan outlines costs, timeframes, dispersal methods, personnel requirements, potential habitat areas, risks, and alternative actions. It estimates the costs of dispersal activities starting in June-August 2016 at over $6 million. It also recommends Council considers rescheduling dispersal in February 2017 when the camp is smaller.
Community members are invited to read the draft plan to understand the options and risks associated with dispersal, and express their views about if and when dispersal is a suitable response to the unprecedented numbers of flying foxes currently in Batemans Bay.
Council is also seeking preliminary feedback about the draft plan from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and the Australian Department of Environment. Both agencies are required to review any final dispersal plan, with OEH providing the necessary legal assessment, approval, and operational conditions.
Read the plan
- Recommendations agreed at the 10 May Council Meeting (182KB)
- Download the Batemans Bay flying fox camp draft dispersal plan (5.2MB)
- Read a short summary of key points from the draft dispersal plan
To make a submission during the exhibition period, you can:
write a letter addressed to:
The General Manager PO Box 99, Moruya NSW 2537
use our online feedback form
Lorraine Oliver the Office of Environment and Heritage 02 6229 7120
Council's Natural Resource Officer Courtney Fink-Downes 02 4474 7493
Minister Hunt can be contacted via email at Greg.Hunt.MP@environment.gov.au
Independent assessments and recommendations
Two independent scientific reports both recommend against flying fox dispersal in Batemans Bay.
Council commissioned the assessment reports in conjunction with the draft dispersal plan to make sure the community and Council have as much evidence as possible when considering whether or not to proceed with an active dispersal of the flying foxes.
The first report from Ecosure strongly recommends against dispersal and describes the Batemans Bay scenario as the highest risk dispersal they have assessed.
The second report is by EcoLogical, who prepared the Water Gardens flying fox camp management plan for Council in December as well as the draft dispersal plan. It states that any type of dispersal or disturbance is high risk and unlikely to succeed because of the likelihood of the flying-foxes relocating to other unsuitable or inappropriate sites.
The EcoLogical report considers a wide range of actions that have been implemented or considered at other flying-fox camps, or that have been suggested by the community. Each action, many of which overlap with recommendations made by Ecosure, is costed and has recommendations.
We encourage you to review the draft dispersal plan and to consider the advice in the independent reports before commenting about if and when a dispersal is the best approach.
- Batemans Bay flying fox assessment - Ecosure (4.1MB)
- Batemans Bay flying fox management options - EcoLogical (2.2MB)
1. Council progress with the following components of Stage 1 of the dispersal plan: a. preparation of communication strategy; b. completion of field investigation of existing and alternate camp habitats within 30km; c. investigation and preliminary enquiries regarding the potential availability of personnel and resourcing options, vaccination, availability and procurement requirements for required equipment.
2. Council place the draft Grey Headed Flying Fox Dispersal Plan (as attached to the report) on exhibition to receive written submissions from the community and other relevant Agencies such as NSW Health, Local Land Services, Essential Energy by close of business on Friday 27 May 2016.
3. Council refer the draft Grey Headed Flying Fox Dispersal Plan to the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and the Australian Department of Environment for their review and comment prior to receiving the final plan for assessment and approval.
4. Council engage Micromex to undertake a community survey to determine the broader community’s understanding of the flying fox issue and level of support for dispersal.
5. The submissions received and the advice obtained from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, the Australian Department of Environment and other parties, be considered in finalising a draft Grey Headed Flying Fox Dispersal Plan for consideration by Council.
6. The independent professional advice being obtained from consultants Ecological and Ecosure on the management of the current Grey Headed Flying Fox camps, be provided to councillors and placed on Council’s web site with the draft Grey Headed Flying Fox Dispersal Plan for the information of the community.
7. At the earliest possible time, a report be presented to Council for consideration, containing the results of the consultation and a final draft Grey Headed Flying Fox Dispersal Plan.
8. Council undertake emergency clearing works to the drain within the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club to improve the drainage and to remove the risk of the Grey Headed Flying Fox Camp expanding into this vegetation.
9. Council erect signage at the Waters Gardens explaining that disturbing Flying Foxes increases the impacts on the adjoining residents and increases possible health risks. (The Motion on being put was declared CARRIED. Clr Leslight voted against the Motion.)
This Draft Dispersal Plan for the Batemans Bay Flying-fox camp has been prepared in response to the significant increase in adverse impacts to the community associated with roosting and foraging flying-foxes over the last two months. These impacts include noise, odour and faecal drop from roosting and foraging flying-foxes. The substantial influx of flying-foxes to Batemans Bay is linked to a heavy flowering of native trees in the region that are a seasonal source of nectar (food). Recent weekly monitoring indicates that the camp size at Batemans Bay has peaked and is starting to decline in line with the flowering season.
Dispersal is being considered with the long-term aim to reduce conflict between people and flying-foxes at Batemans Bay. However, the dispersal process is likely to result in an increase in adverse impacts and risks for people and flying-foxes in the short-term. Natural dispersal is currently underway with the decrease of flying-fox numbers being evidenced, and this will continue to occur with reduction of food sources and cooler temperatures.
It is important that the community is well informed of the potential risks and factors affecting the likelihood of success when considering if dispersal should proceed. Dispersal is a high risk and expensive strategy, especially for the large and geographically challenging camps that currently exist at Batemans Bay. The logistical challenge of recruiting the large number of vaccinated and non-vaccinated personnel required for a dispersal action and generally preparing to implement the plan make it highly unlikely that a successful attempt of dispersal could be achieved at this time.
It is expected that the risks and costs would be substantially lower if dispersal is attempted at a time when the camp is much smaller in size and outside of sensitive periods in the flying-fox life-cycle. Early February would be a more suitable time to commence a trial dispersal as the camp size is typically much smaller at this time and juvenile flying-foxes are likely to be independent.
Management team $5000/day
Total cost for dispersal team $57,800/day
Monitoring by specialist ecologist $1500/day
Approximate costs for each stage
Stage 1 $135,300
Stage 2 $3,420,800
Stage 3 $2,658,000 (excluding contingency)
allowance for contingency suggested at $1M