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Bat bombs have kids ducking at Ipswich school

WORRIED PARENT: P and C president for Ipswich Central State School, Krista Jackson, at the cordoned off area of the school to protect students from bats.
WORRIED PARENT: P and C president for Ipswich Central State School, Krista Jackson, at the cordoned off area of the school to protect students from bats. Sarah Harvey

BATS have invaded Ipswich Central State School, prompting fears from parents about the health of their children.

The fears were heightened after two children were splattered with bat faeces.

The school is an innocent victim of Ipswich City Council's tactic of moving a growing flying fox colony out of nearby Queens Park.

P and C president Krista Jackson said it discovered a large number of bats had moved into Nerima Gardens behind the school.

Cr Andrew Antoniolli and Member for Ipswich Ian Berry were alerted.

"Cr Antoniolli came out with a significant number of council workers in an attempt to try and move the bats on," Ms Jackson said.

"The bats have moved further up the hill but instead of being 20m away, in the Nerima Gardens, they are in the trees right on the fence line overhanging into the school grounds.

"That has meant the school has had to cordon off a large part of the children's play area and where they are meant to sit and eat."

She said the biggest issue was the school's main toilet block was right under where the bats were now hanging.

"Yesterday the bats were flying around over the top of the children playing and, inevitably, stuff happens and a couple of children presented to the office with faeces on them," she said.

Cr Antoniolli said the council had to take action with the flying fox colony at Queens Park quadrupling since they first moved there.

"There is now 4000-5000 in that area," he said.

The Queens Park nature centre is closed to allow for "passive dispersal" of the flying foxes.

Cr Antoniolli said the State Government needed to get involved and help come up with a long-term solution to the bat problem.

"I'd go so far as to say the State Government needs to introduce a full-time taskforce to work with councils and affected communities," he said.

"In this case we have hundreds of school children potentially being harmed by flying foxes right on the school boundary."

Mr Berry said he had arranged to meet with Ms Jackson at the school tomorrow morning.

Asked about Cr Antoniolli's suggestion of a taskforce, he said it should be made through the Local Government Association.

"The powers were given to the councils because each council's situation is different. It seems to me what they need is a holistic approach," Mr Berry said.

Topics:  flying foxes, ipswich central state school



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