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December 2, 2021

Premier caught up in a shark net during visit

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Anti-shark net protesters greet premier Mike Baird on Friday. (supplied)
Anti-shark net protesters greet premier Mike Baird on Friday. (supplied)

Marine conservationists and the NSW Greens have called on the coalition government to stop playing politics with shark nets and get behind the community-based Shark Watch program.

They are angry at the speed with which premier Mike Baird flew to Ballina on Friday to oversee the installation of the first of five shark nets in local waters.

The premier was met with a crowd of about 60 protesters, including Dean Jefferys, who was dressed as a hammerhead shark.

Marine activist Dean Jefferys attempts to throw a net over premier Mike Baird. (supplied)
Marine activist Dean Jefferys attempts to throw a net over premier Mike Baird. (supplied)

Mr Jefferys made national headlines after throwing a net over the premier.

‘I did this to give the premier an opportunity to experience what it is like to be a marine creature trapped in a shark net,’ Mr Jefferys said later.

‘The premier was lucky, he wasn’t tangled up underwater unable to breathe, like the 16,500 marine creatures that have died in the last 65 years in NSW waters because of these indiscriminate killing nets.

Mr Jefferys said 4,773 endangered hammerhead sharks were part of the 12,000 marine creatures killed as non targeted species in shark nets.

Greens marine and fisheries spokesperson Justin Field accused Mr Baird of playing politics with shark nets.

‘Mike Baird’s whirlwind media focussed trip to the North Coast shows his nets trial is more about politics than about science,’ Mr Field said.

‘The speed of legislation and the failure to consult meaningfully on the design and management of the trial shows it for the PR exercise it is.

‘That’s a real shame when a community based non-lethal solution is ready to go in Shark Watch and with a very small government investment could be rolled out across the region.

‘Communities up and down the NSW coastline want to know they are part of the solution and they need resources to take up that role.

‘Efficient shark management must include government doing the heavy lifting on research, infrastructure and surveillance and the community getting supported to run proven programs like Shark Watch.’




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  1. I find it hypocritical of Justin Field as a Green to accuse the Premier of his visit being media-focussed and his response as just a PR exercise. Is there any political party in Australia that is more adept at media exercises? For example, when Greens Senator Janet Rice cycled from Melbourne to Canberra to take up her Senate place, I and other members of Canberra’s cycling group, Pedal Power, were invited on a ride to accompany Rice into the city. It was presented to us as an opportunity to celebrate and promote cycling. When Rice arrived at the Parliament she was interviewed by the local TV; there was nothing about promotion of cycling – it was nothing but an ad for Rice and the Greens. Fortunately as it happened I was not able to ride but I felt cheated at the Green’s duplicity. In the case of the nets plainly Baird wants publicity for what he is doing. But whether you agree with the nets or not, there is nothing in Baird’s actions or timing that suggests he wants other than a prompt solution to a vexing problem before the school holidays and that he wants his response to be publicised, as he would any other government initiative, openly and not masked behind some ruse as the Victorian Greens did to me and my friends.


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