Flying fox red tape: relocate or eradicate

BAT breeding season has returned along with one NSW politician's plea for councils to be empowered to kick out colonies "without having both hands tied behind their backs".

Nationals MP Michael Johnsen echoed the views of many fed-up residents on the North Coast where humans are grudgingly sharing land with flying fox colonies.

He said bats had rendered a local park in his Upper Hunter electorate useless but the council was unable to act.

"My view is simple: relocate or eradicate," he told parliament.

Mr Johnsen spoke of the red-tape rigours councils faced being the result of 14 years of buck-passing and inaction.

"Allow a much more streamlined process for dealing with bat colonies, bring back commonsense and return the public urban space to our community members," he said.

"Of course, other people believe that we should do nothing and the bats should be allowed to stay where they land, set up camp and destroy the local amenity.

"I am much more pragmatic.

"I accept that some experts believe that the bats are vulnerable or threatened.

"I have no reason not to believe those experts.

"If landowners are responsible for a bat colony that has flown in and set up camp, take away the barriers to managing the problem and empower communities.

"Do not simply talk about it."

NSW Health's Dr Vicky Sheppeard reminded residents not touch injured bats or flying foxes to avoid contracting the potentially fatal lyssavirus.

"We are concerned that with the start of the bat birthing season in October and November young and miscarried pups may be on the ground, prompting people to pick them up or attempt to rescue them," she said.

"If someone is bitten or scratched by any type of bat they should thoroughly clean the wound for at least five minutes with soap and water as soon as possible, apply an antiseptic such as Betadine and seek urgent medical advice," Dr Sheppeard said.

-APN NEWSDESK



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