Maclean High principal Tony Carr (left) takes MP Janelle Saffin on a tour of the school on Monday.
Maclean High principal Tony Carr (left) takes MP Janelle Saffin on a tour of the school on Monday.

No bat group for P&C

MACLEAN High School P&C has again turned its back on the Maclean Flying Fox working group, despite Federal Member for Page, Janelle Saffin encouraging the committee become re-involved.

On Monday, Ms Saffin was taken on a tour of the school’s rainforest and discussed misconceptions about dispersal licence applications and their high cost with the P&C’s president, Lorraine White, before sitting in on the committee meeting.

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Ms White said that although some parents who felt very strongly about being on the working group, the majority believed that it ‘wasn’t in their best interest to join’.

She said the committee came to the conclusion that they would not be able to voice their opinion if they didn’t agree to what the working group resolved and they were told as members of the working group they could not talk to the media.

The P&C was also concerned that within Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water’s (DECCW) own policy, an independent chairperson was required on the working group and this so far was not the case.

“They need to meet their own policy requirements,” Ms White said.

However a DECCW spokesperson said that the working group was formed on the basis of DECCW providing the chairperson and there is no policy to have an independent chairperson.

The principal of the high school, Tony Carr, is on the working group as a Department of Education and Training representative and the P&C has been told that it will still be able to make submissions to the working group through Mr Carr.

Ms White said that at present co-habitation was not working and that a short term solution was needed and the P&C could not see any progress being made through the working group.

“They (the bats) have degraded their own living area which is not good for their health,” she said.

“We don’t want to see them hurt but they are clearly not doing well.” Ms White said that the ability to disperse the scouts as they come in would be a desirable short-term solution.

The Maclean flying fox working group so far:

  • Is made up of DECCW; Department of Education and Training; Maclean High School; Maclean TAFE; Clarence Valley Council; Commonwealth Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts; NSW Health; Land and Property Management Authority; Billie Roberts (Griffith University) and Valley Watch.
  • Has conducted two on-site inspections and began identifying options for the management of the site, including options for pruning of vegetation and for the establishment of alternative habitat for flying-foxes.
  • Has organised two presentations on flying-fox camp management in relation to latest scientific information and best practice.
  • Has identified the option of installing air-conditioning in rooms of the high school most affected by the flying foxes and the Department of Education arranged those works during the recent school holidays.
  • Nominations have been received from community members and these were due for consideration at last night’s meeting.

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