NSW premier Mike Baird will oversee the installation of the first shark net at a Ballina beach tomorrow.
The installation of the net comes after the state government passed the Shark Management Amendment Bill on Tuesday night, which allows for a six-month trial of nets at five local beaches.
Mr Baird’s office confirmed that Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg gave his approval for the trial last night.
The controversial nets will be installed at Lighthouse, Sharpes and Shelly beaches at Ballina, as well as at Lennox Head and Evans Head.
A spokesperson for Mr Baird said it had not yet been decided which beach would be netted first.
‘That is still to be determined. The Department of Primary Industries is in talks with the contractor about which beach will be netted tomorrow,’ she said.
Mr Baird is expected to meet with business owners and surfers at the Ballina Lighthouse Surf Lifesaving Club at 1pm tomorrow.
Ballina’s Greens MP Tamara Smith has accused the premier of acting with undue haste in an effort to gain ‘glory for the nets’.
Ms Smith spoke against their installation of the nets in parliament saying they were outdated technology.
‘The Greens oppose this bill for several reasons: it reintroduces outdated and clunky technology at a cost of millions of dollars each year, it is not a sustainable mitigation strategy; and it kills threatened and endangered species,’ she said.
‘As a marine scientist remarked to me recently, it is like wanting to be protected from elephants in the Serengeti and asking the Tanzanian government to let off cluster bombs in the hope of killing a few elephants whilst wiping everything else out in the process.
‘We are smarter than that. We know that wiping out our biodiversity is creating a hot and uncertain planet for the not-too-distant future.
‘The Greens are committed to a science-based approach to keep people as safe as possible whilst respecting our oceans and the creatures that live in them.
‘The Minister has acknowledged that netting will not guarantee public safety.’
Ms Smith also criticized the government for not investing any funds in shark spotting programs, pointing to the fact that Byron Shire Council had been forced to fund a program because it did not want nets.
‘The Department of Primary Industries, in its own desktop study Cardno review, found that shark spotting was the best method for shark mitigation,’ she said.
However, now that a cost-effective, organised group is ready and willing to provide such a service, the New South Wales Government does not appear to be interested.
‘Instead, Shark Watch has received funding from the local council to protect swimmers and surfers in the Byron shire to the north of Ballina. Byron’s beaches will receive shark spotting even though arguably Ballina needs it far more.
She said she was determined to see the Shark Watch program rolled out in Ballina.