October 27, 2017

McGowan must act to mitigate shark attacks

The McGowan Government has washed its hands of any responsibility for keeping ocean users safe from shark attacks, according to Shadow Minister for Fisheries Ian Blayney.

Mr Blayney said fishermen and surfers from Esperance, who had reportedly turned to illegal shark culls to make the waters off their coast safe, were understandably frustrated with the completely inadequate shark mitigation policies of the McGowan Government.

“If the death of a 17-year-old girl from a shark attack last year is not enough to prompt this Government into action I think it’s safe to say nothing will,” Mr Blayney said.

“These people are afraid and frustrated; they are desperate to keep people safe.”

Mr Blayney said the McGowan Government needed to tell all West Australians how it is going to mitigate shark attacks this summer and why it had cut $1 million of shark mitigation funding.

“The budget papers show shark hazard mitigation funding of $250,000 a year over the next four years has been removed,” Mr Blayney said.

“The Government’s headline initiative, to subsidise expensive devices that are known to be less than 100 per cent effective, is shameful.

“Giving $200 to 1000 lucky West Australians who can afford to buy a $600 deterrent device is not a comprehensive shark attack mitigation policy.”

Mr Blayney said the Government needed to stop bowing to pressure from vocal minorities in its ranks and look at the facts around netting and drum lines to prevent shark attacks.

“On the East Coast there have been no fatalities in the past 50 plus years at netted and drum-lined beaches,” Mr Blayney said.

“I call on Premier McGowan not to wait for another tragedy before doing something to help protect ocean users from shark attack.”

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