LNP Leader Deb Frecklington today pledged $15 million over three years to put smart drum lines in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and called on the Palaszczuk Labor Government to match the commitment immediately to protect the community.
“Labor have sold out community safety by pulling shark drum lines out of Queensland waters without any plan B,” Ms Frecklington said.
“Public safety must come first. Our position couldn’t be more clear – people before sharks.
“I won’t just roll over and say it is all too hard like the Palaszczuk government has done.
“There is nothing in the decision* that compelled Annastacia Palaszczuk to pull drum lines out of the water.
“The permit requires the Government to use drum lines in a “non-lethal” way, which will protect the Great Barrier Reef while prioritising the safety of swimmers.
“The court didn’t tell Labor to take out the drumlines – Labor chose to do it.
“The drum lines are legal if they are regularly monitored and sharks are removed quickly. Smart drum lines can do just that.
“When it comes to life and death, nothing should be put in the too hard basket.
“People don’t want to see political blame-shifting, they want real action that respects the law but protects community safety.
“That’s why if elected, the LNP will pledge $15 million over three years for smart drum lines to protect Queenslanders and tourists swimming in these waters. I hope Labor do the right thing and match our pledge so Queenslanders don’t have to wait 14 months for this sensible action to happen.
“For four years, New South Wales** has safely trialed a catch and release program with the use of smart drum lines. This should be the minimum response by the Palaszczuk Government.
“To simply pull the drum lines out without a backup plan shows Labor is more interested in playing politics than protecting the community, protecting the environment and protecting Queensland’s $25 billion tourism industry.
“Queensland’s tourism industry needs to be safeguarded and smart drumlines are a way to protect humans and protect local tourism jobs.”
*Administrative Appeals Tribunal decision: https://www.judgments.fedcourt.gov.au/judgments/Judgments/fca/full/2019/2019fcafc0163
**Outline of SMART drumlines: https://www.sharksmart.nsw.gov.au/technology-trials-and-research/smart-drumlines