House debates

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Statements by Members

Western Australia: Shark Culling

1:37 pm

Photo of Rick WilsonRick Wilson (O'Connor, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

I know that the member for Durack, here today, will also welcome two significant backflips by the Western Australian government: firstly, the reinstatement of the funding for the Community Resource Centres, which are an integral part of our rural communities, and, secondly, the installation of a SMART drum line trial. While I welcome that announcement of the WA government's drum line trial in the south-west, I'm disappointed that the town of Esperance, in my electorate of O'Connor, has not been included in this strategy. In recent months I've pushed hard for the state government to implement SMART drum lines off the Esperance coast to protect people from potential shark attacks. Esperance, an ocean-loving community which attracts more than 230,000 visitors a year, is currently living in fear and trepidation due to increased shark sightings that have resulted in numerous attacks and one fatality.

The tragic death of 17-year-old Laeticia Brouwer in April 2017 was the straw that finally saw the Esperance community fight back. It prompted local schoolteacher and surfer Mitch Capelli to start the Esperance Ocean Safety and Support Group. I joined one of his forums and committed to help making the ocean safer. Despite highlighting shark dangers, Esperance has seen no support from the state government and is now facing the countdown to October, an especially dangerous month to be in Esperance's waters. They're frustrated and angry that their call for protection has not been acted on. I therefore call upon the government of Western Australia to do the right thing and protect the people of my electorate by extending its SMART drum line trial to Esperance.

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