War on bats needs action not words

THE WAR on bats and smells is one Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale says he will wage until its successful conclusion.

Bats have colonised the city.

They screech all day, destroy trees and defecate 24-hours-a-day over everything.

Meanwhile a pungent smell has been wafting from the Swanbank area across nearby suburbs causing residents to gag on the noxious odour.

Cr Pisasale has railed against an impotent state government bureaucracy which tangles any solution up in reams of red tape, while residents continue to suffer.

He said he'd "had a gutful" of bureaucratic stalling on the flying fox issue while the people of Ipswich suffered as the proverbial meat in a bat sandwich.

"So last week I wrote to the Premier proposing a trial one-off partnership between Ipswich City Council and the Queensland Government to share costs and to ask for her personal intervention and help," Cr Pisasale said.

"We need urgent action to manage these roosts and move them on."

Cr Pisasale said he was sick and tired of being told by state government that council had powers to act.

Environment Minister Steven Miles has written to Cr Pisasale saying that local governments have had "a long standing authority to manage flying-fox roosts that fall within designated Urban Flying-Fox Management Areas since 2013".

The letter goes on to say that management actions "are limited to non-lethal methods and must be undertaken in accordance with a code of practice that sets out the types of management activities that can be used" while also protecting the welfare of the bats.

"But what they forget to say is that the reality is we can't do anything so long as any breathing bat is in a tree," Cr Pisasale said.

"My job is to represent people, not bats.

"This is war.

"The bats are driving me and the community crazy and enough's enough.

"It is affecting people's livelihood, their health and making people go nutty…or batty.

"I am sick of playing bat ping pong where everybody goes backwards and forwards instead of focussing on the pong."

MY WAR ON BATS: Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale is determined to rid Ipswich of its bat problem. David Nielsen

The Ipswich City Council wrote to Mr Miles with a solution.

In the letter it states that council proposes management actions "which include habitat modification to create a buffer between residences and roost vegetation on council land" with the potential to also "undertake in-situ management actions on private land".

The letter says bat management is a state and local government issue and that council is seeking state government commitment "to find 50% of this proposal as a trial to determine effectiveness to manage the urban residential interface with flying fox roosts".

"The current total estimated cost for this trial at Yamanto is between $55,000 and $80,000 dependent upon the requirement for a veterinarian to be on-site during the works."

The letter goes on to say that if successful, the joint state-council program should be extended to other roosts at Bundamba and Camira.

But the council's request was rebuffed with the Director-General of the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection Jim Reeves writing back to say that "unfortunately the Minister is not in a position to offer funding for flying-fox management actions".

In response Cr Pisasale wrote to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk seeking her help.

"I believe a pro-active approach to assist the local community would be to trial a one-off partnership between state and local governments sharing in-situ management costs and exploring urban roost management actions for two locations within the Ipswich region," he said.

Cr Pisasale told the Premier her support was vital to "relieve residents of a financial burden which they face due to no fault of their own".

Cr Pisasale said he receives multiple calls each day from residents about the bat issue and has met with them on countless occasions.

"We are at war with the bats and we must win," he said.

"Put yourself in the shoes of affected residents.

"No-one should have to put up with bats as neighbours.

"The bats to date have more rights than people.

"Enough is enough. This is an issue that effects the health and lifestyle of people."

RE: QT Saturday 16/4/16 My War on city's bats needs state assistance: Cr Pisasale.

Cr Pisasale, when did this become your war? This is a serious issue which has been going on for too long and words do not cut it any longer.

The Environment Minister is correct when he says the local government (councils) do have the authority to manage flying fox roosts since 2013. So what is the problem? How many times have you written to the State Government asking for financial assistance?

Every time the council has been told "no" to funding. April, 2015 was a previous time you were told "no". That is 12 months ago.

I understand you may think that the longer this issue drags out, the residents will give up on this issue. Not going to happen Cr Pisasale. These people have the right to complain about this and the right to expect the council to act on their behalf.

In regards to you telling the Premier her support was vital to relieve residents of financial burden which they face due to no fault of their own, this statement in itself is funny. These residents pay rates and will not be paying any more money to rid themselves of this vermin to bring back some normalcy in their lives.

This council says it cares about the health and well-being of these people. If this was the case, then their complaints, phone calls, emails and face-to-face contact would be taken seriously and something would be done. As it stands, nothing has been done.

Lots of talk but no action. The residents at Yamanto are back at square one. Where do they stand if the council doesn't support them?

This issue of dispersal of these flying fox roosts comes down to money. The State Government will not provide any financial support so the council must have money put aside for these issues. Certain parts of Ipswich don't need water parks or wave pools. They want the money spent on this major problem.

Put your fist in the air Cr Pisasale and say that council will step up and take the action that is needed to look after the human beings not bats. This issue needs to be debated and taken seriously at the next council meeting. Your jobs are to represent the people of Ipswich. Do it.

JULIE NESS Churchill


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BATS. Megabats, Flying-foxes, Fruit bats and Microbats: War on bats needs action not words
War on bats needs action not words
War on bats needs action not words
BATS. Megabats, Flying-foxes, Fruit bats and Microbats
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