Port Macquarie-Hastings Council raises flying-fox issue with Local Government NSW

Discussion points: Cr Rob Turner, council's general manager Craig Swift-McNair, Local Government NSW president Linda Scott, mayor Peta Pinson, Cr Sharon Griffiths, Cr Geoff Hawkins and Cr Peter Alley talk about local government issues.
Discussion points: Cr Rob Turner, council's general manager Craig Swift-McNair, Local Government NSW president Linda Scott, mayor Peta Pinson, Cr Sharon Griffiths, Cr Geoff Hawkins and Cr Peter Alley talk about local government issues.

Councillors have raised the issue of flying-fox management at a meeting with the Local Government NSW president.

Flying-foxes in the Kooloonbung Creek Nature Park area are problematic for nearby residents.

Residents say the flying-foxes constantly screech, have an appalling smell in the height of summer and pose health risks.

Port Macquarie-Hastings councillors and council’s general manager Craig Swift-McNair met with Local Government NSW president Linda Scott in Port Macquarie on July 10 and flying-fox management was among the discussion points.

Local Government NSW will in turn raise the flying-fox issue with NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton and the Office of Environment and Heritage.

Many councils across the state are grappling with the issue.

Cr Scott emphasised the importance of ensuring councils had the right mechanisms to manage the problem.

“It’s a very tricky and very complex issue with a protected species,” she said.

Local Government NSW has received funding for a flying-fox research project.

Cr Scott said Local Government NSW would use that knowledge to inform and support councils in taking action.

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council in April agreed to seek advice on funding opportunities to manage the impact of flying-fox colonies adjoining residential properties.

Flying-fox management is dealt with in the Kooloonbung Creek Nature Park Plan of Management.

The council’s position is to continue to focus primarily on the in-situ management of flying-foxes.

Mayor Peta Pinson said the flying-fox issue was not isolated to the Port Macquarie-Hastings region.

“Given it is such an issue for local government, we need to be working together on how we are going to tackle the problem,” she said.

Flying-fox management and the Australian recycling crisis were among the issues discussed at the meeting.

Cr Scott said it was great to meet with council representatives to talk about issues impacting this region which Local Government NSW could take up on behalf of councils.

Cr Scott is meeting with Mid-North Coast and North Coast councils.

She said it was invaluable to spend time with mayors and councillors to really get an understanding of the issues they faced and how Local Government NSW could best support them.

Cr Scott said the challenges the state’s councils faced included financial sustainability and ensuring planning controls reflected the wishes of councils and communities.

Cr Pinson said it was great for Cr Scott to visit regional areas.

She said for Cr Scott to take the time to talk with mayors and councillors along the coast about matters that impacted individual councils and the region was very welcome.

Local Government NSW is the peak industry association representing the interests of councils in the state.

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