House debates

Monday, 3 June 2013

Statements by Members

Australian Bat Lyssavirus

1:51 pm

Photo of Craig KellyCraig Kelly (Hughes, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Last night, the 60 Minutesprogram on the Nine Network put to air an important story about the dangers of the bat lyssavirus, a form of rabies. It told the heartbreaking story of the death of a Queensland boy who had been scratched by a bat, while playing tennis, and how he developed a brain infection that led to fits, paralysis and, ultimately, a painful death. The message from the program is that we must educate our children never to handle bats and, should they ever be scratched or bitten by a bat, they must immediately be taken to a doctor. It is a matter of life and death. There is a post exposure vaccination available, but it is recommended that medical advice be sought immediately.

The question arises: what happens when our children are disabled and they cannot speak and so cannot tell us if they have been bitten or scratched by a bat? That is the problem that faces the parents, carers and teachers of Bates Drive Special School and the Sylvan Vale Foundation in Kareela, for, right next to their facilities in Sydney's south, a colony of 10,000 flying foxes has moved in after their relocation from Kurnell during the construction of the desalination plant. The Sutherland Shire Council, led by Mayor Kent Johns and Councillor Tom Croucher, are doing the right thing. They are preparing a management plan, but they need the support from the environment minister. I call on the environment minister do everything he can to work with the Sutherland Shire Council— (Time expired)