Mayor Message – Mayor Liz Schmidt - Flying Fox Advisory Committee Update


Last week it was announced that the State Government would provide up to $900K in funding to be used for research and to trial innovative flying-fox management approaches in Charters Towers.

Many people have lobbied to have this funding made available and we want to ensure this funding is used wisely on flying-fox management activities.

It’s a complex issue. In the past, there have been 43 different dispersal activities that have been attempted. It cost a lot of money and the dispersal activities had no effect or only short-term results.

Moving forward, we will be using the current research that is being untaken by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Department of Environment and Science (DES) to help us in our endeavour to come up with flying-fox management strategies.

We are also looking at the agricultural industry to see what is being used successfully. This will all take time and I ask the community to bear with us as we want to get it right.

Within the next few months, Biodiversity Australia, who have been contracted by DES, will engage with the Charters Towers community. They will conduct surveys and will be establishing a Hotline for community feedback.

Council will be establishing a webpage on Council’s site as a go-to place for information. The page will provide information about what the Committee is doing, general information about flying-fox, health risk information, the CSIRO research information and in-depth information on what has been done to remove the flying-fox in the past.

At the Community Day on 26 August, representatives from CSIRO and DES will be on hand to answer questions from the community and will be able to provide up-to-date information.

On 5 September, we will be holding a Community Forum. We’ve asked Dr David Westcott, a zoologist with CSIRO Land and Water and the Senior Principal Research Scientist, to come and speak to our community about flying-fox.

David has studied flying-foxes for nearly 20 years and is currently working on all five species in Australia.  He currently co-ordinates the National Flying-Fox Monitoring Program and is leading the first detailed research into Little-Red Flying-Foxes.

I want to invite all the community to come to this and to hear what the scientists are doing. More information about the Community Forum will be made available in the coming weeks.

It’s our priority to keep the community informed and to support the community, while working towards a long-term strategy past all election cycles to manage the problem as best we can.

- Councillor Liz Schmidt | Mayor

OGG 21 Aug 2018