Lockyer Valley Mayor wants to cull flying foxes

THE Lockyer Valley mayor is pushing to cull flying foxes - dubbing bat populations out of control.

Increased bat removal powers is one of the council's submissions to the Local Government Association of Queensland conference later this month.

While the council wants "greater autonomy for local governments to be proactive" the Bat Conservation and Rescue Group prefers a state-wide approach to bat management.

This motion was among the resolutions listed in a preliminary agenda, released to The Queensland Times this week, for the LGAQ conference in Mackay later this month.

Lockyer Valley Mayor Steve Jones said councils had to act on what their constituents demanded.

"They've put a system in place whereby you can move through a range of applications and process and eventually get to move them on. But they have never ever allowed the culling of them," Cr Jones said.

"The problem in Gatton is we have an enormous problem with them next to Amaroo, the aged care facility. They annoyed those poor old people something fierce.

"These things were a continual noise and smell 24 hours a day. Now we've moved them on and unfortunately they've gone into trees all over town.

"And the problem has just moved now. They need to face up to facts the numbers are just in excess.

"We need to have the ability that when any pest gets into excess they've got the ability to cull."

But Bat Conservation and Rescue Queensland president Katrina Faulkes-Leng said councils' powers over flying fox colonies had grown dramatically.

"Our position is that protection for flying foxes in this state has been fairly quickly stripped away over the past few years," she said.

"We recognise the problem that living in proximity to flying fox colonies can cause.

"But it's unfortunate we've got to a situation where there is a belief that killing a native species is seen as a way to solve the problem."

Ms Faulkes-Leng and Cr Jones agreed the matter would be better solved with a Queensland-wide flying fox management plan.

"Flying foxes don't worry about shire boundaries," Cr Jones said.

The LGAQ must pursue any motions that pass at the conference. All but two of the 77 Queensland councils are attending the conference.


Push to stop the spread of fire ants

That is Lockyer Valley Regional Council's submission to the Local Government Association of Queensland conference later this month.

It is one of many submissions from councils across the state to be presented at the LGAQ conference this month.

The formal list of submissions was released to The Queensland Times this week.

The council is calling for the LGAQ to request more funding from the Queensland Government to stop fire ants.

Lockyer Valley Mayor Steve Jones said the westward spread of the ants had to be stopped.

"I lobbied several ministers from when they appeared at the Port of Brisbane to now, which has probably been about 10 or 15 years, I've lobbied them about these things and I don't want them getting to the Lockyer Valley," he said.

"We have horticultural pickers working in the fields and we don't need them. And unfortunately they've just continued to come."

Cr Jones said despite helicopters with heat-seeking cameras looking for the nests, the ants were winning the fight.

"We get all these stories from bureaucracy that we've got these wonder heat-sensing devices and wonderful chemicals and we've got them all under control - well that's all crap," he said.

"If they were all under control they would have pulled them up at the Port of Brisbane."

Councils will vote on the motions in Mackay later this month.


City council wants to see more consultation

MORE communication between councils and the State Government on planning reform is the Ipswich City Council's key Local Government Association of Queensland conference outcome.

In the council's only submission to the conference it has called on the government to increase consultation with local governments regarding changes to planning laws.

"In many instances, consultation with individual local governments has only occurred during the parliamentary committee phase, which is towards the end of the legislative drafting process and when there is relatively limited opportunity to inform and influence the drafting of the legislation," the submission reads.

"Additionally, very short time frames have been allowed in relation to very significant legislative changes, for example, five days for review and comment on the Sustainable Planning (Infrastructure Charges) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014."

While the LGAQ itself expressed concerns increased consultation could lead to a "divide and conquer approach" from the government, it agreed councils should be consulted at least four weeks before legislation is introduced to parliament.

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