Key meeting to help solve bat problem

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto, Hinchinbrook Mayor Ramon Jayo and Biodiversity Australia Operations Manager & Senior Ecologist Karl Robertson inspect a flying fox roost at the back of the Ingham Botanical Gardens.

INGHAM’S bat problem is another step closer to being solved following a key meeting between Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto, Hinchinbrook Mayor Ramon Jayo and an environmental management firm.

Mr Dametto and Cr Jayo joined Biodiversity Australia operations manager and senior ecologist Karl Robertson for an inspection of flying fox roosts in the town last week, where different dispersal methods were discussed.

“The Mayor and I were able to show Karl not only the location of roosts but identify some potential flight paths the bats could be guided towards once they were dispersed in order to channel them away from the town,” Mr Dametto said.

“We are united in wanting this problem colony gone and as I’ve said many times previously, bats belong in the bush, not in our backyards.”

Mr Dametto said Biodiversity Australia had a proven track record of dispersing problem flying fox colonies across Queensland and also provided specialist environmental management services for the resources, infrastructure, government, defence aviation and residential sectors.

“This is a very capable organisation. Karl made me aware of a problem bat roost that his organisation was able to successfully disperse. The process took two years but because you need to be able to create a learned behaviour within these bats, conducting enough dispersal activity will eventually make them move on,” he said.

“As restrictive as it is, Karl has assured me they can work within State Government’s existing flying fox codes of practice to successfully disperse the bats. Over the coming weeks, Hinchinbrook Shire Council, myself and Biodiversity Australia will work closely together on a proposal that we can take to the State Government.”

Mr Dametto said the Queensland Departments of Health and Education were two of the major stakeholders affected by Ingham’s flying fox problem, given the colony’s proximity to Ingham Hospital and two schools.

“I believe those departments need to contribute to the solution given Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch and her department have done little to assist,” Mr Dametto said.

“I will not stand by and wait for a child to be bitten or scratched by one of these disgusting, disease-ridden creatures because of inaction by the State Labor Government.  It’s time they stopped dancing to the tune of green extremists and help protect our community.”

Nick Dametto MP