The Queensland Opposition is calling on the state government to match their multi-million dollar commitment to smart drum lines.
The LNP has pledged $15 million for smart drum lines in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, to keep Queenslanders safe and protect the reef.
It’s understood the smart drum lines can be used in a non-lethal way, with regular monitoring and quick release of sharks that get caught in it.
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The process has been safely trialled over the past four years in New South Wales.
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington is now calling on the Palaszczuk Labor Government to match their commitment to protect the community.
“Labor have sold out community safety by pulling shark drum lines out of Queensland waters without any plan B.
“Public safety must come first. Our position couldn’t be more clear – people before sharks.
“I won’t just roll over and say it is all too hard like the Palaszczuk government has done.
“There is nothing in the decision that compelled Annastacia Palaszczuk to pull drum lines out of the water.
“The permit requires the Government to use drum lines in a “non-lethal” way, which will protect the Great Barrier Reef while prioritising the safety of swimmers.
“The court didn’t tell Labor to take out the drumlines – Labor chose to do it.
“The drum lines are legal if they are regularly monitored and sharks are removed quickly. Smart drum lines can do just that.
“When it comes to life and death, nothing should be put in the too hard basket.
“People don’t want to see political blame-shifting, they want real action that respects the law but protects community safety.
“That’s why if elected, the LNP will pledge $15 million over three years for smart drum lines to protect Queenslanders and tourists swimming in these waters. I hope Labor do the right thing and match our pledge so Queenslanders don’t have to wait 14 months for this sensible action to happen,” Ms Frecklington said.
Though the Queensland Government has hit out at the committment this morning, claiming it’s not worth the money.
Fisheries Minister Mark Furner says the program would actually put Queenslanders’ lives at risk, rather than protecting them.
“Handling sharks is dangerous and I can’t see the sense in releasing a shark near where it was caught,” Mr Furner said.
“How will that protect swimmers?
“It’s not just as simple as pulling a hook out of a shark’s mouth and letting it go. If David Crisafulli thinks that’s a good idea then he can go first!”
Mr Furner also said the $15 million commitment wouldn’t be nearly enough money to cover to the costs associated with the 173 drumlines in the Great Barrier Reef.
“Replacing all of those drumlines with so-called smart drumlines could cost up to $100,000 per day.
“Which of the 27 beaches in the Great Barrier Reef would the LNP remove from the program in order to fit their $15m budget?” Mr Furner said.
“Would the LNP cut back on beaches in the rest of the state to pay for its irresponsible, underfunded brainwave?
“Would they randomly pick beaches in our key tourism areas and just cross their fingers hoping for the best?
“Smart drumlines are being trialled in other states, but they are just that, a trial. Our current Shark Control Program has operated for almost 60 years with only a single fatality at a beach protected by the program,” Mr Furner said.