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smart drumline

One SMART drumline location is not enough protection

14 August 2018

The State Opposition has welcomed the McGowan Government’s backflip on shark mitigation and says its decision to trial SMART drumlines is a sensible one. 

Shadow Minister for Tourism Libby Mettam and Shadow Minister for Fisheries Ian Blayney said they were delighted the McGowan Government had come to its senses and were at last putting public safety before political ideology.

“We’ve been calling for this trial for almost a year and we’re pleased the McGowan Government is finally listening to the people and common sense has prevailed,” Ms Mettam said. 

“While I welcome this trial as a first step. I am concerned that the implementation of SMART drumlines in only one location is potentially just a stop-gap measure to ease public pressure. 

“We have had five ocean events disrupted or cancelled over the last 12 months as a result of the mismanagement of this issue.

“It’s undeniable that the presence of sharks, shark attacks and the publicity of these interactions has had a huge impact on tourism and events in WA.”

Shadow Fisheries Minister Ian Blayney said the McGowan Government should have acted long ago to better protect the public from the very real threat of shark attacks.

“It has taken far too long for the McGowan Government to take responsibility for this serious public safety issue and put beachgoers before politics,” Mr Blayney said.

“This is a step in the right direction but there needs to be more drumlines and more monitoring bouys.”

Ms Mettam said it was also clear that the McGowan Government’s current policy of subsidising a personal deterrent device - which was only 60 per cent effective for surfers – was completely inadequate.

“I believe a more comprehensive approach is needed and I am confident the research will show SMART drumlines are a much more effective and safe way of dealing with the shark mitigation, as has already been proven in trials in NSW,” Ms Mettam said.

“This decision is also a win for the hundreds of protestors who travelled to Parliament House to rally for the introduction of the SMART drumlines and for the more than 4000 people who signed a petition urging the McGowan Government to implement this measure.”