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Hartsuyker goes into bat for Maclean.

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Media Contact: Greg Pierce 02 66 52 62 33 0408 532 785 Canberra: 62 77 4447

Luke Hartsuyker MP Federal Member for Cowper


September 17, 2008

Hartsuyker goes into Bat for Maclean

The Federal Environment Department’s decision to request an expensive Public Environment Report over the threat of bats in Maclean has been raised in the Federal Parliament.

The Federal Environment Department became involved after a licence application to the New South Wales Department of Environment and Climate Change was referred to the Commonwealth.

In a speech to the Parliament tonight (Wednesday), Federal Member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker, criticised the Federal department’s decision not to approve the granting of a licence for the removal of bats. Instead the Department requested a report.

Mr Hartsuyker said the Federal department’s actions reflected a lack of understanding about the impact the bats have on Maclean High School and the broader community.

“There is significant concern among Maclean residents that the bats will move back into the Gully for the nesting season, leaving them to face months of damage, odour, and inconvenience.

“The potential roosting area for the bat colony is located next to Maclean High School, and the principal is concerned that the bats will disrupt the upcoming HSC exams.

“Against the considered view of the DECC, the Federal department has decided that there is potential for the bats to be harmed, and has requested that a Public Environment Report be completed.

“The Report may take up to six months and will cost up to $100,000. And even after the report is completed, there is still no guarantee that the community will be granted a licence to disturb the bats.

“That $50,000-$100,000 would be better spent upgrading Maclean High School.

“The question must be asked: Will the Minister take responsibility for the health of Maclean High School students?’

Media Contact: Greg Pierce 02 66 52 62 33. Mobile 0408 532 785 Email: Canberra: 6277 4447

“Commonsense needs to prevail in this situation. The health and wellbeing of our young people must be put before a handful of bats,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“With the roosting season just around the corner, this issue needs urgent attention from the Minister. I have written directly to him, requesting a speedy resolution to the situation.

“The people of Maclean have been able to disperse the bats in previous years, and I urge the Government to permit the same course of action once more.”