TAMWORTH’S flying fox colony is making noises much farther afield with Sydney radio host Alan Jones vowing to take the issue to the NSW Premier.
Mr Jones, who proclaims to be the “most influential and respected radio broadcaster” in the nation, interviewed Tamworth councillor Russell Webb about the region’s flying foxes this week.
The 2GB host said the situation was “sheer nonsense”.
“We’ve had flying foxes come here for a number of years, five in fact, and each year the colonies seem to be growing,” Cr Webb said on radio.
“Each year, the impact on our community, be it the health and well-being of our residents and the well-being and health of some of our businesses, close to where those flying foxes have camped, is all at risk.”
Cr Webb also talked-up the hazards the bats could pose to the region’s horse industries.
“It’s a real risk to our area, in particular, because we see ourselves as one of the real equine capitals of the nation,” he said.
Mr Jones asked Cr Webb why “do we protect bats and not protect communities?” and if councils were being “gutless” on the issue.
“I ask the same question,” the Tamworth councillor said.
“And if I had my choice, I would do a lot more about it than we are doing, but I don’t actually have the right to do anything about it, under the law the way it is, or the legislation the way it’s written, I’d find myself in a hell-of-a-lot of trouble.”
The radio host said he would talk to the Premier about flying foxes.
“I will speak to Gladys Berejiklian about all of this, it’s just sheer nonsense,” he said.
He also railed against the protected status of the bats on air.
“It’s illegal to do anything to even disturb them, let alone do what I would do: cull them with an AK-47,” he said.
Cr Webb raised the flying fox matter, once again, at Tuesday night’s council meeting, as a question on notice.
He told council he’d been in contact with a group which has managed bat problems in Sydney.
Cr Webb said the group, Eco Wildlife Management, had programs which were “proven to work” and that the government would approve.
“Our staff will talk to the company,” he said.
“They’ve indicated they’ve had extremely good success in the past, let’s get a plan and move on this.”