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Flying fox funding under consideration

Clarence Valley Council is likely to apply for a piece of the NSW Government’s Flying-Foxes Grants Program. Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis last week outlined parameters to access a pool of $1million, which can be used “for councils to implement emergency measures, prepare camp management plans, [or] implement approved measures in existing management plans”. Clarence Valley Council’s application would be in the context of implementing measures already outlined in the Maclean Flying-fox Management Strategy (December 2010), which does not support dispersal of the colony. The council’s environment planning & community director, Des Schroder, said in an emailed statement that “a flying fox working group has been implementing the strategy, chaired by the Office of Environment”, and that the working group would “look at possibilities” for a funding application at its next meeting. Past actions have included, he said, “looking at extending buffers, rehabilitating existing habitat away from the houses and the school, erecting fencing, air-conditioning class rooms and [implementing] a community education program. “Considerable success has been achieved. “The working group has identified other alternative habitat sites for establishment and rehabilitation, and it may be possible that these are looked at, as part of an application.” Mr Schroder said that any application lodged would be an “operational issue” that does not have to go to a council meeting. The council can apply for a maximum of $50,000. “We understand the community’s concerns about noise and odour from these animals,” Mr Gulaptis said. “We also recognise the situation can become serious for residents when flying fox camps grow to huge numbers. “The government’s grant program will help reduce the impact these animals are having on people’s lives.” The grants are available to councils in three streams. Stream 1: Implementing emergency camp management measures where there are significant community impacts. Up to $50,000 is available per council from a total pool of $500,000. Councils need relevant approvals for proposed measures. Stream 2: Preparing camp management plans. Up to $15,000 is available per council from a total pool of $200,000. The proposed plan needs to be consistent with the government’s Flying Fox Camp Management Policy. Stream 3: Implementing approved measures from existing camp management plans. Up to $50,000 is available per council from a total funding of pool $300,000. This work includes extending buffers, offsite mitigation works (for example car covers) and establishing alternative foraging or roosting habitats. This funding is only available to councils which have the necessary government approvals. Local Government NSW in association with the Office of Environment and Heritage will administer the grant allocation process. Applications can be made at any time for the first two streams, until the funding is exhausted. The third stream is a competitive grant process – its first round closes on August 26.