Perrett and Katter agree residents should be able to take action if they are plagued by flying foxes.
Perrett and Katter agree residents should be able to take action if they are plagued by flying foxes. Renee Albrecht

Radios in the trees may get rid of flying foxes

MEMBER for Gympie Tony Perrett says local residents such as those at Goomboorian impacted by increasing flying fox numbers should be able to "deal with the problem".

"I appreciate the frustration of locals, and concur with the Member for Kennedy, about the impact of bats on Queenslanders and in their communities."

The Federal Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter, this week addressed Parliament House on the devastation and health hazards caused by flying foxes, focusing on the fatal diseases carried by the bats and pointing out how the proliferation of the pests are affecting towns in his electorate, including his home town, Charters Towers.

"Every person who has ever contracted lyssavirus in Australia has died," Mr Katter said, also naming the nipah disease in the malaysian isthmus which has killed 116 people, Hendra disease and leptospirosis, all of which are carried by flying foxes.

"There is no doubt that bats carry life threatening diseases as well as upset neighbours wherever they take up residence," Mr Perrett said yesterday.

"Gympie locals therefore have very real and well documented concerns about the threat, describing them as disgusting animals.

"They pose a threat to both humans and animals as well as cause significant losses to the fruit industry.

"As they gather in colonies which can grow to plague like numbers it makes it difficult for residents to control let alone manage the problems they bring.

"Locals who are affected should have the ability to deal with the problem."

Mr Katter has issued a challenge to the Queensland Health Minister to get rid of flying foxes in populated areas:

"When you know that this danger is there and you can remove it, and you do absolutely nothing, then you are responsible. I have no hesitation in saying to the Minister for Health in Queensland, when people contract this disease it is your responsibility to remove those flying foxes from population centres."

It has been left to the people in Charters Towers to find ways of getting rid of the flying foxes, Mr Katter said.

"They kept their lawnmower running underneath the trees for two or three days and we now know that is one sure way of getting rid of them. Put a radio in the tree and turn it on full volume. In the case of Charters Towers park, put radios in the trees."