What beaches could lose drum lines next
SOUTHEAST Queensland's most popular beaches are looming as the next target in a Greenies-led war on shark drum lines, sparking furious demands from local mayors to leave their seaside cities alone.
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate slammed the removal of drum lines from Cairns to Gladstone after a shock court ruling this week as "Greenie madness" and fears consoling the family of a shark victim if the move is introduced on the Glitter Strip.
"I don't want to be a person who could have fixed this with the right legislation, trying to console a parent who has lost a kid to a shark attack on any beach in Queensland," he said.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson urged the Palaszczuk Government to "take whatever action is necessary" to ensure the program continued in the iconic region.
The Courier-Mail understands the Deputy CEO of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, with other staff, will travel to Brisbane this morning to meet with the Fisheries Department.
It comes as Fisheries Minister Mark Furner is seeking urgent briefings with his department after he said greens group Human Society International had indicated "they will come after us in terms of looking at changes through other parts of the state" after the court ruling.
The Federal Court upheld the group's legal challenge to stop sharks being euthanised in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, rejecting the State Government's appeal as it ruled there was no evidence killing the animals protected swimmers.
As the program's workers are not trained to handle live sharks, the Government has begun pulling out 173 drum lines at 27 beaches, and signs will start being erected at those beaches today ahead of the school holidays, which begin tomorrow.
Councillor Tate said he would 'not stand for a similar legal action to be taken by Greenies on the Gold Coast', which has not had a fatal beach attack since shark nets were introduced more than 60 years ago.
"We've had nets and drum lines in since the mid-fifties on the Gold Coast and we haven't had a person taken by a shark swimming in the ocean since," he said.
"Conversely, we see people being bitten south of our border in NSW where they don't have nets and drum lines to protect people."
He also likened the battle over shark control laws to legislation introduced to curb the bikie scourge, and said the government should "keep re-legislating until you get the laws judgment-proof in the courts,"
Councillor Jamieson said public safety was paramount.
"Protecting our 320,000 residents and preserving our $3.5 billion tourism industry should be a key considerations and Council urges the State Government to act quickly so that the users of Sunshine Coast beaches are reassured that shark control measures will remain in place," he said.
HSI marine campaigner Lawrence Chlebeck told The Courier-Mail the successful court action "allows us to look into other litigation opportunities within the state, not that we have that planned as of right now".
MPs urge state to defy court directive
FEDERAL MP George Christensen has urged the Palaszczuk Government to defy a court's ruling to rip out its baited shark drum lines until the Morrison Government can change the law.
Outraged Queensland Federal MPs met with Environment Minister Sussan Ley on Wednesday night demanding swift action be taken as the Morrison Government yesterday sought legal advice on the Federal Court's decision.
The State Government lost an appeal in the Federal Court to use drum lines to prevent shark attacks in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA).
GBRMPA had approved the existing drum-line program and was a party to Queensland's case.
Mr Christensen, the Member for Dawson, warned that for the safety of beachgoers and to protect the tourism industry, the State Government should not remove the drum lines until legal changes were made. Led by Mr Christensen and Senator Matt Canavan, and with the support of Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch, 10 Queensland Federal MPs and Senators have signed a joint statement saying they are concerned about the court decision's implications for the "protection of human life in the Great Barrier Reef and the health of the tourism industry in North Queensland".