A FUND of $1 million dollars is being made available to the state’s local councils which need to manage colonies of flying foxes.
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has welcomed the funding and is urging councils in his electorate to apply for the funding, made available by the State Government, to manage problem bat colonies.
“I’ve seen first-hand the devastation that flying fox camps cause,”” Mr Marshall said.
“A colony that camped on the McIntyre River in Inverell about two years ago laid waste to riparian vegetation and was problematic for residents for the duration of its stay.”
“At Blair Athol Estate near Inverell, a flying fox camp established in 2013 stripped 150 year old trees of vegetation, and caked them in bat excrement.
“The smell and noise was horrendous, and very damaging to a once thriving hospitality business. At Blair Athol and nearby, people could not use their rainwater tanks because of contamination from the bats.
“And flying foxes carry Hendra Virus and Lyssavirus, both potentially fatal diseases. A resident at one of the infested Inverell properties was last year scratched on the leg by a juvenile flying fox, with serious health implications.”
The state government is making available a grants package of up to $1 million for councils preparing camp management plans, implementing camp management plans and emergency actions for camps where there are significant community impacts.
The government will contribute $1 for every $2 invested by councils in bat management, although one-for-one support will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
The grant allocation process will be administered by Local Government NSW in accordance with terms agreed with the Office of Environment & Heritage.
“I look forward to councils in our region taking advantage of this funding to prepare plans for possible future bat colony invasions,” Mr Marshall said.
“Our communities need to be equipped with the tools and plans to protect community amenity and the public’s health.”