More than a week after a Federal Court decision reinforced new conditions for Queensland’s Shark Control Program in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, the Federal Government has still failed to commit to changing its legislation to allow Queensland beaches to be protected.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said delaying tactics from the Federal Government were leaving swimmers at our most popular swimming beaches exposed.
“The Federal Government needs to stop wasting time and get on with changing its legislation so we can get back to protecting swimmers from sharks,” Mr Furner said.
“Our legal advice is that Shark Control Program staff and contractors could be liable to prosecution if they are unable to meet the new conditions imposed after legal action by the Humane Society International.”
Mr Furner said partial legal advice made public by the Federal Government took no account of the danger to staff and contractors who are not equipped to safely carry out a catch-and-release program.
“It’s all very well for the Federal Environment Minister to release a few lines from censored legal advice, but we are talking about people’s lives here. We won’t throw our staff to the sharks,” Mr Furner said.
“Ultimately, we don’t support the State LNP’s proposal to back a catch-and-release program that would release large, dangerous sharks close to our most popular tourist beaches.”
Mr Furner has written to Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley asking for the full legal advice from the Australian Solicitor-General to be released and once again urging the Federal Government to change its legislation to allow Queensland’s current Shark Control Program back in to the Marine park.
“I raised with the Commonwealth in April, again in July, and again this month that this issue can be resolved quickly by the Commonwealth changing its legislation to allow the Queensland Government’s program to continue as before within the Marine Park,” Mr Furner said.
“Changing our program to a catch-and-release program is a dramatic change in a program that has served Queensland well since 1962.
“After more than 50 years of bipartisan support for this program, the Queensland LNP has walked away from this position and aligned itself with the “catch-and-release” ideology.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries
The Honourable Mark Furner