The Palaszczuk Government has vowed to back its Shark Control Program measures on the Sunshine Coast.
After the program came under legal attack by an animal activist group and following only lukewarm support from the LNP Opposition, Minister for Fisheries Mark Furner said he would fight to the last to make sure drumlines and shark nets remained on the Sunshine Coast.
“As a grandfather of small children and as a former lifesaver myself, there is nothing more important to me that keeping people as safe as possible in our beautiful Sunshine Coast waters,” Mr Furner said.
The Humane Society International successfully used Federal law to force unworkable changes to a permit from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority that allowed the Shark Control Program to operate in the park.
“While the LNP Opposition wavers and Queensland LNP Federal MPs demand action from the Federal Government, Sunshine Coast LNP MPs have remained tight-lipped on whether they support the Shark Control Program at all,” Mr Furner said.
“Sunshine Coast LNP MPs need to back in our Shark Control Program in the Great Barrier Reef, and right here on the Sunshine Coast, and they need to do it today, with school holidays starting today.
“With only one fatality at a Shark Control Program beach since 1962, beachgoers will fight to keep this program and I will fight right alongside them.
“Sunshine Coast LNP MPs need to call their colleague, the Federal Environment Minister, and back the Palaszczuk Government’s call for Federal legislation to allow the program to be fully restored.”
Mr Furner said the LNP Opposition was being irresponsible by attempting to play politics with the Shark Control Program, which had previously enjoyed bipartisan support for decades.
“Opposition Environment spokesman David Crisafulli has already encouraged the Queensland Government to ‘do more to release sharks still alive’,” Mr Furner said.
“This is what the HSI brought about in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and what they want to see happen on the Sunshine Coast.
“Instead of trying to score cheap points, he should get on the phone to his Federal LNP colleagues and ask them to fast-track legislation and allow our Shark Control Program to resume in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
“It’s clear that the LNP has given up on trying to protect our beaches – and cannot be trusted to put swimmer safety first.
“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to the Shark Control Program lock, stock and barrel.
“We have committed $1 million per year over the next four years to explore possible better options than drumlines and shark nets, but I will not back any changes until I am convinced that they will be just as good or better for swimmer safety than our current program.”