Flying fox dispersals likely to fail

HOMIES: Flying Foxes hanging around in their camp near the Byron Bay Court House.
HOMIES: Flying Foxes hanging around in their camp near the Byron Bay Court House. Christian Morrow

CLARENCE Valley Council has found in a review of 17 dispersals over 23 years that the majority failed to reduce the number of flying foxes.

It was only the sites where millions of dollars were spent that dispersals were successful.

The latest application for dispersal was estimated to cost between $40,000 and $100,000, depending on the area, and the application costs for dispersal would be minimal in comparison to the likely cost of prolonged dispersal.

A recent dispersal in Batemans Bay in 2016 cost $135,000 for approval, and the actual cost of dispersal between June and August of the same year, including council staff time and a dedicated flying fox project officer, was at least $200,000.

The approval cost for dispersal at Kareela in Sutherland Shire was $128,000, and the year one cost was estimated to be a minimum of $544,040.

It is estimated the cost of ongoing dispersal in Maclean for the full camp is a minimum of $200,000 per annum, but council documents state it is likely to cost more.

Council has no budget for an application to disperse flying foxes in Maclean or other camps.

The State Government has just announced a new round of flying fox management grants to a maximum of $50,000 which council is expected to match.

Councillors were asked to note the report into the costs of dispersal.

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