$100k answer to city’s bat distress signal

MOUNT Isa's bat problem has been given a $100,000 solution after Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch witnessed first-hand how the tick-ridden creatures were plaguing fed-up residents.

It follows The Courier-Mail's revelations that a Mount Isa family was being held hostage in their own home because thousands of flying foxes had taken over their back yard.

After visiting the Mount Isa Sunset Memorial Cemetery this week, where thousands of bats are now roosting, Ms Enoch announced the local council would be granted $100,000 over two years to manage the animals.

Two draft flying fox codes and a revised guideline on how to manage bats across Queensland will also soon be released to stakeholders, including wildlife carers.

Brooke and Darren Craig with children Ena, 3, and Zac, 10 months, in their bat-infested back yard
Brooke and Darren Craig with children Ena, 3, and Zac, 10 months, in their bat-infested back yard

Ms Enoch said the Government understood the frustration that nearby flying-fox roosts could cause residents.

"While in the region earlier this week I visited the Mount Isa Sunset Memorial Cemetery and saw this issue first hand," Ms Enoch said.

"Following that visit, we're now stepping in to support the Mount Isa City community with this funding to further assist with the council's management of flying foxes."

Councils are currently able to manage roosts by using air guns, smoke, noise, tree-lopping and removing trees without needing a permit.

However this new funding will allow the Mount Isa City Council to develop an artificial roost site on a spare block of land which the bats can relocate to rather than the cemetery.

Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch
Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch

"The Palaszczuk Government supports a balanced approach to managing our native wildlife that protects vulnerable species while managing the safety and expectations of a growing community," Ms Enoch said.

Flying fox assistance is also under way in Charters Towers with the Environment and Science Department working with the local council and CSIRO to redevelop an alternative roost.

The new codes focus on the ecologically sustainable management of flying fox roosts and for low impact activities in and around sites including the use of water sprinklers.

"The release of these updated draft codes is a key step in our work to upgrade the Queensland roost management framework," Ms Enoch said.