Tuesday 17 May 2016
Eurobodalla Mayor Lindsay Brown has welcomed the removal of Federal Government greentape preventing the early dispersal of the Batemans Bay flying fox colony, and says he will brief councillors today on the next steps towards a dispersal attempt starting as soon as possible.
This follows last night's community meeting in Batemans Bay where Federal Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt pledged $50,000 as a start towards dispersal actions and the removal of any Federal Government impediments to approve the dispersal.
Clr Brown is now calling on Member for Bega Andrew Constance to mirror the Federal Government’s actions at NSW government level to assist the Eurobodalla community.
"I have this morning at 9am applied to Mr Hunt's department for a national interest exemption, which means that council will not have to obtain approval from the Australian Government to disperse flying foxes.
"I thank Minister Hunt for his commitment to remove the legislative impediment facing Council, and for understanding this issue is a bigger one than Eurobodalla Council can manage alone.
“Andrew Constance’s commitment to provide NSW Government funding for the flying fox dispersal is also very welcome, however, I call on Mr Constance to do what he can to remove the NSW Government impediments that delay and constrain Council’s ability to disperse the flying foxes.
“I am hopeful the Federal Government will match any commitment from the NSW Government beyond Mr Hunt’s announcement of $50,000 last night.
"I also call on my councillor colleagues to support me and our community to implement an active dispersal as soon as we get NSW Government approval."
Clr Brown said the outcome of last night's meeting was a big step forward for Council in managing the flying fox problem.
"This is an unprecedented and terrible situation for our community and I've said all along we needed help from all levels of government. That help is now coming."
"I am pleased that both the NSW and Australian Governments have now responded positively to my requests for a collaborative response to this dreadful challenge facing our community."
Practical help for residents affected by Bay flying foxesMonday 25 January 2016
Council is offering a range of practical help to residents affected by the Batemans Bay Water Gardens flying fox camp.
Residents living within 250 metres of the Water Gardens reserve received a letter last week offering them free rental of a high pressure cleaner to clean faecal drop from their outdoor furniture and patios.
They could also be eligible for free a car cover, clothesline cover, and the removal of cocos palms, which attract the flying foxes, from their yards.
This assistance represents actions from a Water Gardens Grey-headed Flying Fox Management Plan adopted by Council on 8 December 2015.
Council’s Manager of Environmental Services Deb Lenson acknowledged that the measures don’t solve the problem, ‘but they are a practical way we can help residents living close to the flying fox camp,’ she said.
‘We will also maintain the buffer zones created last year where we pruned and removed some vegetation between the dwellings and the Water Gardens Reserve. This is bringing some relief to residents by taking away opportunities for the flying foxes to roost in trees and plants overhanging residences.’
Ms Lenson said that Council has also committed to enhancing the Water Gardens by removing weeds and rubbish. ‘We have submitted a grant application to the NSW Government for funding to assist with this,’ she said.
Residents have until 12 February to express their interest in the offers and they will be notified of their eligibility as soon as possible. Council says site inspections may be required to determine residents’ requirements and priorities.
The Flying-fox Camp Management Plan aims to address the concerns of residents near the Water Gardens and the broader community, while not creating conflict between people and the flying foxes elsewhere, and managing the camp consistent with statutory requirements.
Culling and dispersal of the camp was not supported because experience from other sites shows these approaches are not effective in the long term, they are expensive and require lengthy approvals with uncertain outcomes. These options would probably shift the camp to one or more other locations, creating conflict elsewhere.
The Plan was developed using information specific to the Water Gardens and also drawing on experience from management of a wide range of other flying-fox camps throughout Australia. Community opinions and feedback were also considered.