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Qld Mayor Plans To Move Bats To Avoid Hendra

Friday, 22nd July 2011

Elsewhere in Queensland, North Burnett Mayor Joy Jensen “says she hopes to relocate a large colony of bats in the town of Gayndah (south-west of Bundaberg) by the end month to reduce the spread of Hendra virus” reported abc.net.au. Council authorities from the town met with State Government representatives yesterday “to discuss fast-tracking the relocation”. It is estimated 150,000 bats “populate the riverbank that runs through the town” & Jensen declared: “It is only a matter of time before there is a Hendra virus case in Gayndah. There is a very real threat to human health & well-being & also to the horses. We know that Hendra virus outbreaks are happening elsewhere in Queensland. The people of Gayndah are very conscious that the threat is 'when it will happen' not 'if it will happen'.” Jensen said getting the right permit “has been a lengthy process. We lodged an application in October last year, but currently we are lodging a new application. We've asked for community input to be provided to council by July 29, so we're trying to expedite a new process; but we need some expertise from our State Government to make this happen.” However Queensland Opposition Leader Jeff Seeney (who is also the Member for Callide) said the State Government “is making it too difficult for councils to relocate bats” noting the council “first applied to have the bats moved last October. The process that's involved in trying to get a permit to do that is so long & convoluted that it ends up creating a worse situation for the people of Gayndah & a worse situation for the bats. Had we been able to take action 8 or 9 months ago when they first turned up, it would have been better for everybody.”

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