Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) has today offered to devise a plan to safely export hundreds of thousands of Queensland flying foxes to New South Wales with no option for “return to sender”, as part of a proposed “Bat Re-Stocking Program”.
The announcement follows the news that hundreds of bats were flown on a private plane for care at Queensland’s Australia Zoo following the recent NSW bushfires, and that local populations on the ground were likely to have taken a hit during the natural disaster.
It also follows an announcement by Australia Zoo that its ‘flying fox intake’ had sky-rocketed by 750 per cent due to the effects of drought in Queensland, followed more recently by the import of bats to Queensland affected by the NSW/Victoria fires.
While obviously a tongue-in-cheek proposal that should in no way been taken too seriously, the KAP is using this opportunity to call for some common sense to be injected into the way the State Government and Queensland communities handle flying fox populations.
KAP Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter said for too long Brisbane had failed to acknowledge through legislation the effect huge populations of flying foxes are having on the towns they inhabit.
Regional communities across Queensland have in recent months been battling with plague proportions of flying foxes, with hundreds of thousands of the animals roosting in urban towns like Charters Towers, Townsville, Ingham, Cairns and Mount Isa at any one time.
More recently, new reports circled that SEQ was also expecting a “flying fox invasion” of upto 600,000 bats, highlighting that no community is immune to the unsustainable numbers seeking refuge in urban areas.
Mr Katter recently made the Minister for Environment and Science, Leanne Enoch, aware of the bat import situation.
He has called for the Minister to detail if the State Government supported the import of bats from interstate and also asked her to clarify if any state money had been spent on the exercise.
Mr Katter said he has no personal issue with flying foxes, but believes it is ludicrous that Queensland’s Nature Conservation Act 1992 has enshrined their rights to the point that their well-being is routinely being prioritised ahead of people.
He said the latest news of the import of bats to Queensland was a symbolic slap in the face to the communities which have been battling plague proportions of the animals for weeks, months and in some cases, years.