WITH reported sightings of flying foxes on the rise, member for Orange Andrew Gee says he will closely monitor the situation.
Mr Gee said he had raised the issue of the bats in the Coalition rooom during the last session of Parliament, and talked about the dangers they posed to the local fruit industry.
“I was surprised to see that many other MPs have also experienced problems with them in their electorates,” he said.
“There is particular concern about the health risks they pose with respect to viruses like Hendra and Lyssa.”
Mr Gee says there is quite a bit of scepticism about how endangered they actually are.
“There’s a study being undertaken on that issue,” he said.
“I’ve been told that it’s not simply a state matter, because the bats are protected under federal legislation as well as state.”
Mr Gee said he understood one of the key issues for farmers and orchardists was that the cost of netting was prohibitive “at a time when they are getting paid a pittance for their fruit.”
“I’ll be monitoring the situation closely as the season progresses and if it becomes an issue I’ll sit down with farmers to work out how best to help them,” he said.