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May 8, 2021

Drones on local beaches for safety’s sake

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Drones are literally part of the 21st-century landscape and skyscape and putting them to good use is part of a new initiative from Surf Lifesaving NSW and Tweed Council who are including this airborne appliance on their watch.

Beach safety initiatives at Byron Bay’s Main Beach will be expanded during the school holidays this summer season as are introduced to complement surf lifesaving services in the Shire.

The surveillance program will operate at Main Beach seven days a week during the Queensland and NSW school holidays, allowing surf lifesavers and lifeguards to keep an aerial ‘eye’ on swimmers and surfers in the water, checking on their well-being as well as patrolling for sharks.

The decision comes after the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and SLSNSW trialled drone surveillance on NSW beaches as a way of improving beach safety and gathering data and footage on shark behaviour.

On the Tweed

Tweed Shire Labor Councillor Reece Byrnes moved a successful motion to secure two drones/UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) for local Tweed Shire Surf Clubs at the recent Council meeting.

Councillor Byrnes moved the motion in the wake of a recent fatal shark attack off the Kingscliff coastline, where it was apparent our beaches and the public needed more protection on the water.

‘Our community desperately needs these safety measures in place and the NSW Liberal-National Government State Government have failed to provide the resources to protect us on the beach,’ said Cr Byrnes.

‘Council working with our local Surf Clubs and their members Council has committed to providing financial assistance to Clubs to purchase the drones.

‘This a real community victory for our Surf clubs, local residents and beach safety,’ said Cr Byrnes.

The motion now passed means Tweed Shire Council will provide $20 000 for the purchase of UAV/Drones to local clubs not covered by the recent State Government announcement.

‘Now the clubs who were ignored by the Berejiklian Liberal-Nationals Government will have the resources they need to purchase drones/UAV’S and keep us safe on the beach.’

Byron’s Main Beach

Byron Shire Mayor, Simon Richardson, said Main Beach was one of the busiest in Australia and it is the perfect location for the drone.

‘I really welcome the addition of drone surveillance and I commend DPI and SLSNSW in not only continuing the program, but expanding it to ensure each coastal local government area in the State will receive a level of aerial surveillance,’ said Mayor Richardson.

The drone will be operational from 19 September 2020 – 11 October 2020, as well as the 2020/21 Christmas and Easter holidays.


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