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Byron Shire
August 16, 2022

Govt in a rush to install first shark net tomorrow

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Shark caught in a net. File photo
Shark caught in a net. File photo

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.

NSW Premier Mike Baird.  AAP Image/Joel Carrett
NSW Premier Mike Baird.
AAP Image/Joel Carrett

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Ms Smith spoke against their installation of the nets in parliament saying they were outdated technology.

‘The Greens oppose this bill for several reasons: it reintroduces outdated and clunky technology at a cost of millions of dollars each year, it is not a sustainable mitigation strategy; and it kills threatened and endangered species,’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.

Tamara Smith. Photo Tree Faerie.
Tamara Smith. Photo Tree Faerie.

‘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.


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19 COMMENTS

  1. And still no signs anywhere telling visitors how to be shark smart. Do the DPI and the local chambers of commerce actually expect visitors to know how to find the DPI website and download the app, that only tells you what could be easily transferred to a signs.
    The signs need to be big, clear and at every entry point at every beach in Ballina and Byron Shires, and in every hotel room and at the airport for that matter. That is if state and local government are fair dinkum about looking out for peoples’ safety and there is a genuine ‘problem’. Signs would be much cheaper, more effective and quicker to install than either nets or a spotting program.
    And guess what, the signs are fully operational no matter what the weather conditions are and I am yet to hear a single person come up with a logical, rational argument for not having them.
    Any argument about the effect on tourism of signposting beaches with shark smart warnings or they would unnecessarily concern visitors is a nonsense, thanks to the local ‘experts’ and the national media that horse has already well and truly bolted. Either we have a problem that needs to be dealt with urgently or we don’t.

  2. SHARK NET PROTEST Tomorrow Fri 18th..NSW Premier Mike Baird will attempt to oversee the installation of the first shark net at a Ballina beach tomorrow. Come and let him, the media other politicians and beachgoers see that there is another way to deal with this situation. e.g. new shark identification and sonar technology and shark spotting with a drone or from headlands. Please bring plackards and marine costumes and arrive early. Please don’t let another 17000 marine creatures die from shark nets over the next 65 years. Come to Lighthouse Beach Surf club in Ballina at 1pm Friday, 18th, Thats tomorrow. Please share and come if you can to be a voice for the voiceless. I heard a whale tail slapping during the super moon near Brunswick. Whales are still migrating and could die in these proposed shark nets.
    https://www.facebook.com/events/216224188816361/

  3. Why the rush? Because, in a matter of weeks a conservative estimate of 400-600 kids will enter our water, from Brunswick Heads to Evans, on a daily basis until May. There is an unacceptable level of risk to young people given the number of dangerous sharks frequenting in the area.
    If Tamara and her Green party are ‘smarter than that’, why can they only offer solutions that have been tried before and have failed with tragic results? Meshing may not be ideal, but it has been proven to be effective in preventing serious shark encounters at NSW beaches for over 70 years. DPI statistics show that modern meshing has minimal and decreasing impact on marine life. Tamara Smith and her Green Party are aware of this, yet they negligently continue to hold onto an ideological position that puts human life at serious risk of harm.

  4. not necessary, not needed. Baird is acting in haste to appease the rednecks and business operators of this town. Took no time at all for the Trump influence to rub off on people. Humans, the most destructive species of the animal kingdom

  5. This is a disgrace to the environment Baird u live next to a marine conservation area! U would think u would know better from all the environmental impact information on the local dairy penguins alone. U are a disgrace to government office u are not conserving the environment for future generations. Stand down.

  6. Disgrace Baird u continually make terrible environmental decisions that are going negatively impact generations to come.
    U live right next to a marine conservation area and obviously have absolutely no idea how many wild animals your poor actions are killing. All animals have a right to freedom and safety! Not just humans!

  7. people should have the choose of taking responsibility for there safety. The signs will provide important information so that people can know how to be shark aware and then not be blind and naïve to it.

  8. He is a Christian. They believe they have dominion over everything else. Since the church and state starting colluding to control every aspect of our lives, they have prevailed over mass distinctions of animals. We have corralled the few remaining terestial wild animals into zoos and parks and are now starting on killing off the creatures of the sea. Oh, its OK though, because Jesus is coming back to save us all…..waiting……

    • Scott l will pray to Saint Francis of Assisi that he might help us find a middle path and enlightenment in respect of humans and the rather more than a few animals that live outside zoos and in our midst. But I suspect we are just as well served by the commonsense of ordinary Australians who do not like cruelty to animals but who are sufficiently about human life to also enjoy healthy seaside living and to not let animals eat them or their fellow Australians.

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