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    Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries
    The Honourable Mark Furner

    Time for Federal Capricornia MP to stand up for Shark Control Program

    Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries
    The Honourable Mark Furner

    Tuesday, October 08, 2019

    Time for Federal Capricornia MP to stand up for Shark Control Program

    The Queensland Government has urged Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry to stand up for Queensland swimmers and tourists by getting behind the state’s Shark Control Program.

    Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga said it was time for the LNP to abandon its support for a catch-and-release program in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park after a new report showed it would not be effective.

    “The report made it clear that the catch-and-release method forced on us by the AAT and the Federal Court after action by the Humane Society International just can’t work in the Marine Park,” Mrs Lauga said.

    “The solution is clearer than ever – the Federal Government must legislate to allow our long-standing catch-and-remove program back in to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

    “Michelle Landry has a responsibility to stand up for Far North Queensland swimmers and the tourism industry that brings so much to the region’s economy.

    “Staying silent is not an option – she needs to call her colleague, the Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley, today and urge her to get the necessary legislation on the agenda for the next sitting of Federal Parliament.”

    Mrs Lauga said Queensland communities with beaches inside the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park should not be disadvantaged compared to those in Southern Queensland, especially when more than 230 large, dangerous sharks had been caught on the region’s drumlines over the last five years.

    “Your postcode shouldn’t determine whether you are given shark control equipment that has historical evidence or unproven technology that releases sharks off our swimming beaches,” she said.

    “All Queenslanders should have access to the Shark Control Equipment that has been in place since 1962, and for the Commonwealth and LNP to abandon Central Queensland to Far North Queensland to a catch-and-release of sharks is an absolute disgrace.” 

    Mrs Lauga has launched a petition calling for the Federal Government to pass urgent legislation to allow existing drumlines back in to Great Barrier Reef Marine Park waters. You can find the petition here.

    The Queensland Government removed its drumlines from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park after the Federal Court decisions imposed conditions on the Shark Control Program that would have put staff and contractors at serious risk.

    The LNP quickly backed the Human Society International’s stance that smart drumlines should be installed and dangerous sharks released back in the Marine Park waters when they were caught.

    The report released on Thursday found “Overall, the authors of this report are of the view that SMART drumlines are not a practical solution throughout the state”.

    In terms of SMART drumlines in the Great Barrier Reef, page 46 of the report states: “the Mackay, Townsville, Capricorn Coast and Cairns region are problematic in terms of finding acceptable locations to relocate captured sharks to…. In Townsville and Cairns, it would also mean potentially locating sharks closer to islands and reefs that are utilised by water users such as divers, snorkelers or spearfishers and may pose a risk.”

    Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the LNP is too busy cosying up to the Humane Society International instead of fighting for the shark control program that has enjoyed bipartisan support for 57 years.

    “The LNP needs to wake up, see the light and support our Shark Control Program,” Mr Furner said.

    “It is not acceptable that they have not acted, after knowing since April that there was a risk to swimmers.

    “The expert advice is clear, the LNP catch and release program of sharks in the Great Barrier Reef will not work, and I have again written to the Commonwealth Environment Minister alerting her to this expert advice.”

    The Queensland Government has committed $1m to examining new and emerging technologies for swimmer safety, however Mr Furner said inferior technology will not replace a program that has operated successfully since 1962.

    Be Safe. Be SharkSmart 

    • Don’t swim at dawn or dusk
    • Always swim in clear water (not in murky water, anchorages, estuary mouths or canals)
    • Don’t throw food scraps or fish waste overboard
    • Don’t swim where fish are being cleaned
    • Swim, surf, snorkel or dive with a buddy
    • Follow local signage and swim between the flags at patrolled beaches.

    ENDS

    Media contact:           Ron Goodman            0427 781 920