COUNCILLORS posed more questions than there were answers to when they discussed how they could protect the community and animals from flying foxes with hendra yesterday.
But the subject they queried most was the State Government's proposed amendment bill which would give local governments and landholders the power to cull bats without a permit.
An urgent report requested by Health and Compliance Committee chairwoman Cr Ellen Smith outlined the amendment.
The report stated that the decision to cull the flying foxes must stem from the need to protect the community.
And if culling were to go ahead the council must cover the costs.
But councillors were worried about how little they knew about the deadly virus and flying foxes.
Deputy Mayor Tony Williams queried what the method of eradication would be, the cost involved, and whether it would stop the outbreaks of hendra.
Cr Cherie Rutherford said the council was caught in the middle of an argument between lovers and haters of flying foxes, but it was the State Government that had all the knowledge.
Cr Neil Fisher said the community must live with hendra until experts found a way to prevent it.
The public consultation period for the amendment began on Monday.
So councillors, except Cr Glenda Mather, resolved to put a submission to the State Government stating they supported the intent of the amendment.
But the submission would include a recommendation to keep the permit system and provide advice and support to landholders and local governments on flying foxes.
FLYING FOXES AND HENDRA
- The route of transmission of hendra from flying foxes to horses is not yet fully understood.
- The virus has been detected in the blood, urine, faeces, placental material, aborted foetuses and birthing fluids.
Source: Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
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