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Minister won't face bat mess

CHANGE THE LAWS: Mayor Paul Pisasale says legislation gives the flying fox more rights in urban areas than people.
CHANGE THE LAWS: Mayor Paul Pisasale says legislation gives the flying fox more rights in urban areas than people.

ENVIRONMENT Minister Steven Miles has turned his back on complaints from Yamanto residents about the growing flying fox colony and will not inspect the site.

After the latest attempts to act on complaints were hampered under strict State Government guidelines protecting the flying fox, Mayor Paul Pisasale invited Dr Miles to a meeting with residents at Yamanto to see the conditions residents had to live with.

A spokesman for Dr Miles confirmed the Minister had received Cr Pisasale's email and said he had no plans to visit the site.

"The Minister has no plans to meet with the mayor or residents about the issue," he said.

He instead referred to departmental advice that "Councils have an as-of right authority under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 to manage flying-fox roosts (including roost dispersal and vegetation modification) in urban flying-fox management areas, provided they comply with a Code of Practice for that activity".

Cr Pisasale said he was disappointed with the Minister's response.

The mayor said he had visited homes at Yamanto late last week and had stepped in to find some solutions to the ongoing issues.

"The residents want to feel that someone cares, someone is concerned and that they have rights as well," Cr Pisasale said.

"When you look at the legislation, all of the legislation is about protecting the rights of bats. There is not one bit of legislation for the people that are affected.

"All I want is an opportunity for the Minister to come out, that is his response and I will be taking it up with the Premier because one thing I know about the Premier - she doesn't ignore residents.

"I just wanted the Minister to come out privately with me to understand and be in their shoes and show some care and compassion.

"I will be working with the residents to make sure that the residents of Yamanto deserve quality of life in this city as well. We will be doing what we can to help the residents if the State Government doesn't want to."

A council spokesman said Council does have a voluntary as-of-right to intervene in flying fox roosts, "however it does come with the state government's own code of practice conditions on management of flying fox roosts".

"There are very limited windows of time throughout the year to move on flying foxes or to limit their impact," he said.

"Action can generally only be taken when the flying foxes are not roosting and are not pregnant or with young."

A Department of Environment and Heritage Protection spokeswoman said the department is available to advise local authorities on matters of flying-foxes and roost management activities if required and will arrange for a wildlife officer to meet with representatives of Ipswich City Council on the issue of flying-foxes at Yamanto.

Topics:  bats, environment minister, flying fox, steven miles, yamanto



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