Flying fox strategy failed: Clague

LABOR candidate for Clarence Colin Clague has criticised the Maclean Flying Fox Management Strategy designed to mitigate the impacts of the flying fox colony on the local community.

Mr Clague said the strategy failed to offer relief for Maclean residents affected by the influx of the animals into the nearby Nungera Aboriginal residential lands, known as the Gully, about four years ago.

He said Yaegl elders and another young family who currently occupy three Nungera Co-operative houses on Nungera Wy were among the residents most adversely affected by the flying fox colony.

“These three households face the misery of the noise, smell and faeces of the bats 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year,” Mr Clague said.

“There is no prospect of relief for them until well into the distant future through proposals in the strategy. Indeed, the priority action in the final strategy, which I would remind everyone was issued in December 2010, is to prune trees within 10 metres of these houses commencing in ‘early 2010'.”

Mr Clague, a foundation member of the Nungera Co-operative, said his wife Joyce was instrumental in the purchase of the land facing Jubilee St, and for the development of the residential estate there, which includes the three houses.

He said the flying foxes in question were not present when the land was bought or when the houses were built, and said their origin had not been explained in the management strategy.

At the last Nungera Co-operative AGM, members unanimously voted to take matters into their own hands and hold a working bee to clear at least the tree and bush growth in the 10-metre buffer zone the management strategy had set as a high priority to be completed in early 2010.

“I happily took an active part in this working bee as this is a personal issue for me. The elders in two of the houses are my wife Joyce's first cousins, all three are granddaughters of the much revered Richard (Dick) Randall,” Mr Clague said.

“Needless to say I was singled out to receive a warning letter from the Department of the Environment to desist from disturbing the ‘endangered' flying foxes.

“But as recently retired Nungera Co-op chairperson Glenda Macphail said last year, ‘our Yaegl elders are endangered too'.”

Mr Clague said he would be placing copies of his recent exchange with the Department of Environment Climate Change and Water (DECCW) over the working bee incident on his Virtual Campaign Office website at next week.

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