Monday, 3 December 2018
I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion 1272, standing in my name for today, in relation to shark mitigation and deterrent measures.
I move the motion as amended:
That the Senate—
(i) the two tragic human-shark interactions in Cid Harbour, the Whitsundays, in September 2018, and the trauma and hurt that has resulted,
(ii) that the Queensland Government culled at least six sharks in response to these interactions,
(iii) the fatality of Dr Daniel Christidis in Cid Harbour, in November 2018, from a shark bite after these culls; and extends condolences to his family and friends,
(iv) that there is no evidence that lethal shark mitigation methods, such as nets or drum lines, make the ocean safe,
(vi) that the Great White Shark is a threatened species and protected in Australia by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999; and is protected internationally through a number of mechanisms,
(vii) that, as apex predators, sharks play an important role in the ecosystem by maintaining the species below them in the food chain and serving as an indicator for ocean health; and that a number of scientific studies have demonstrated that the depletion of sharks results in the loss of commercially important finfish and shellfish species down the food chain, including key fisheries such as tuna that maintain the health of coral reefs, and
(viii) the recommendation of the Environment and Communications References Committee inquiry into shark mitigation and deterrent measures, that the Australian Government should establish a national working group to develop strategies and facilitate information-sharing about non-lethal measures with the objective of ending lethal shark control programs; and
(b) calls upon:
(i) the Australian Government to establish this working group, and
(ii) the State and Federal Governments to phase-out the use of lethal shark mitigation methods and invest in non-lethal methods as a way of protecting the environment without putting human lives at risk.
I seek leave to make a short statement.
Thank you. This motion acknowledges the sad and traumatic interactions between sharks and humans that have occurred recently in Queensland. Sure as the sun rises tomorrow morning, we are going to see more interactions in this country, as we have seen in the past. It's a fact of life in Australia that the ocean is not a risk-free environment. This is something I know personally, as I spend a lot of my spare time in the ocean.
We have to get the balance right, the Senate Environment and Communications Reference Committee had an excellent 18-month inquiry into shark mitigation. It went all around this nation and came up with a very sensible set of reports about phasing out lethal mitigation measures for sharks and replacing them with non-lethal methods that still can protect human life and reduce risks while also protecting our marine life. Shark nets and drum lines kill not only tens of thousands of sharks that are essential to our ocean health; they also have bycatch—whales, dolphins, turtles and dugongs. It's time to move on with this debate and this motion— (Time expired)
Public safety is this Liberal-National government's first priority. States are responsible for protecting people from sharks. The full range of options should be considered consistent with national law.