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Monday, 13 February 2012
Page: 838


Mr O'DOWD (Flynn) (13:47): The humble flying fox is still creating havoc in my electorate, including the townships of Gayndah, Tannum Sands and Gladstone. The Hendra virus has claimed at least four human deaths, numerous horse deaths and at least one dog death that we know of. There are still many mysteries surrounding the virus and there still remains a lot of scientific work to do to find out how this virus has occurred in our livestock, but suffice it to say that the Hendra virus is linked directly to the flying fox or the fruit bat, which it is sometimes called, due to the destruction it causes to exotic fruit orchards.

At Gayndah, a citrus-growing area, that problem has been ongoing for 17 months. A colony has taken up residency in the heart of town, threatening local businesses, water supplies and schools. It has taken this long for the state government authorities to make a move to relocate these creatures. I ask: why? Why has it taken so long? At Tannum Sands, a bat colony has also set up base camp right beside the sports oval, much to the anguish of the students, teachers and parents. There is also a colony adjacent to the Gladstone marina, which is often frequented by family groups having picnics et cetera. (Time expired)