Today in Parliament I announced my intention to ask the Senate to initiate an inquiry into the flying fox problems we have in Singleton, Cessnock and other communities in the Hunter and other towns throughout the State.
I’ve spoken to the Chair of the Senate Rural & Regional Affairs & Transport Committee and he advises he would welcome the reference.
I will now work with the Minister for the Environment, the Shadow Minister and other interested parties to develop appropriate terms of reference.
I also told the House of Representatives that as part of an inquiry, I want the Committee to travel to Hunter to see firsthand the effect of the bat problem.
As I told the Parliament, the Terms of Reference will need to acknowledge and respect the endangered species status of the bats and their contribution to the maintenance of our biodiversity.
Senators can learn much from the scientists and regulators during hearings in Parliament House. But they’ll need to visit affected communities to fully appreciate the other side of the equation.
Surely in this 21st Century we have the wit to both protect our biodiversity while also protecting our local communities.
I’m hopeful a Senate inquiry can show us the way.