New push to get drumlines back
LIVINGSTONE Shire Council will ask the Federal Government to fast-track legislative change that allows for the return of conventional shark drumlines at the Capricorn Coast.
As reported in The Morning Bulletin last week, Councillor Adam Belot intended to raise the issue at Tuesday’s council meeting, but Mayor Bill Ludwig beat him to it.
Cr Ludwig called on both state and federal governments to work together to get things sorted before there was an attack on our beaches.
He had full backing from his six councillor colleagues.
Cr Ludwig will meet with Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley personally in Canberra to demand action.
“We believe we need to get a common sense outcome here,” Cr Ludwig told Tuesday’s council meeting.
“I think the community has been reasonably patient in hoping that we would have an expedited outcome, but my conversations recently with the federal member and her office are (indicating) that legislative procedures are probably still six months away.
“The specific question I asked was ‘has the process started?’
“And for that, I did not get an answer, or certainly not any appropriate answer.”
Cr Belot had previously said publicly that the reduction of shark drumlines on the Capricorn Coast from 49 to just seven “is crazy and we’ve got to change it”.
Veteran charter boat and ferry operator Max Allen Snr, whose family has operated Freedom Fast Cats out of Yeppoon’s Rosslyn Bay since 1999, described the current situation as “madness”.
Last month the Queensland Government halted its shark control program at 27 beaches within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park area to comply with a Federal Court decision preventing cruelty to sharks.
That effectively saw the Capricorn Coast, with its 49 drumlines, the most heavily impacted region by the court decision to prevent the catching and removal of sharks in the marine park.
“The groups that lodged the federal action were probably doing it for all the right reasons as far as ecosystem and protection, but council’s obligation is to protect the community first,” Cr Ludwig said on Tuesday.
“There’s a balance that has to be found and the balance is best found by hitting the reset button, by asking the Federal Minister responsible to actually amend the legislation.
“They can rush through legislation for all sorts of things.
“I believe this is a matter of importance to our community - there are concerns out there.”
Cr Belot backed the mayor’s stance.
“I’m glad to see that you and I are in total agreeance with this,” he said.
The council also agreed to support appropriately monitored trials of other shark deterrent measures and technologies, including smart drumlines.
“If you want to get the community on board with changes in technology, you don’t take out the thing that they’ve got (conventional drumlines)...which have been in place for many, many years and people feel comfortable with,” Cr Ludwig said.
Livingstone will also invite Federal Member Michelle Landry and State Member Brittany Lauga to provide a briefing on how the council can advance its case.