The newly formed Flying Fox Advisory Committee for the Charters Towers region recently held its inaugural meeting. As per their terms of reference, the committee includes members of Council, Mayor Liz Schmidt, Cr Roma Bailey and senior staff, Robbie Katter MP (Member for Traeger), members from the community, CSIRO and the Department of Environment and Science.
“It’s a great first step. We have a committee that has representatives from the Federal Government through CSIRO, State Government through DES, our State MP, Mr Robbie Katter, community representation and Council. The committee brings everyone that needs to be involved to the table.” said Mayor Liz Schmidt
The Committee has been established to provide recommendations to Council to address the issues required to manage the significant negative impact of Flying Foxes in the region. Membership on the Committee is voluntary and members have been selected for their experience and expertise in Flying Fox management.
“Experience from 40 other local government regions across Queensland has demonstrated that a simple fix is unlikely and we may not get it right the first time, but we do want to come up with solutions to manage them. We’re not willing to ignore the impact year on year by allowing the residents to suffer seasonally and then when the impact subsides, leave it until next year.”
The Committee has agreed to meet monthly and to map out discussion items and tasks to action. One of the first tasks is to understand what has been tried in the past.
“We need to know what has and hasn’t worked. Past Councils have already spent a lot of money on management techniques, including green ants, sprinklers, paintball, smoking, fake snakes, the lot. We don’t want to waste more time and money on things that have been tried before without success.
Deterring and preventing them from settling in the first place would be the ideal solution. With the assistance of the experts in flying fox behaviour, we’ll trial proven methods from other areas to see if we can make our town areas less comfortable in the long term.” said the Mayor.
A crucial issue for the Committee will be the securing of much-needed funds for management strategies. Council’s community survey indicated that residents would like to see state and federal governments or a levy placed on rates to fund flying fox management. So far the State Government has made an assurance that funding for a trial will be made available.
The next Committee meeting will take place in early June.
OGG 21 May 2018