Councils call for government funding to fight flying foxes

TWO south-east Queensland councils have put forward submissions to the State Government in a bid to secure funding to tackle growing flying fox concerns.

The Lockyer Valley and Ipswich council submissions will be discussed at the Local Government Association of Queensland annual conference in Cairns.

Earlier this year, the State Government announced a proposal to give councils across the state an authority to manage urban flying fox roosts without having to apply for a Damage Mitigation Permit.

However, councils have claimed under the proposed plan the new authority will give the general public the expectation that councils had the responsibility and duty to manage flying foxes regardless of where they are.

In its submission, Ipswich City Council asked for clarification in relation to the government's management and financial role in supporting councils and expressed its desired outcome.

"The Queensland Government to provide a subsidy to local government for the management of problem roosts in urban areas, or to develop a process by which local government can enter into a joint management agreement with the State Government," it said.

The Lockyer Valley submission went one step further calling for greater powers to control flying fox numbers to acceptable levels.

"Clearly the species should not be eradicated," it said.

"However, given the risk to communities, the flying foxes colonies should not be co-located with human populations."

Environment Minister Andrew Powell said he supported Premier Campbell Newman's position that the health and wellbeing of people is the number one priority.

"The Premier also rightly pointed out that local councils are best placed to manage flying foxes in the first instance," he said.

"They have people on the ground to trim trees in public spaces and, if necessary, use light, noise or smoke to move flying foxes on from roosts in urban areas.

"Councils also ultimately have a responsibility to act on behalf of their communities.

"What councils currently receive from Department of Environment and Heritage Protection is permission to act."

The conference will be held from October 8 to 11.

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