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Labor gets SMART – finally

After months of calling for the McGowan Government to remove its head from the sand, The Nationals WA have welcomed Labor’s latest backflip to trial SMART drum lines off the South West coast.

Fisheries spokesperson Colin de Grussa said a series of meetings with NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair had convinced him of the merits of trialling the SMART (shark management alert in real time) technology.

NSW Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair with WA National MPs Peter Rundle, Terry Redman and Colin de Grussa.

“Up until now the McGowan Government has shown utter contempt for regional WA’s coastal communities. The Nationals have been calling on the Fisheries Minister to act for months – it’s pleasing he has finally heeded our calls,” Mr de Grussa said.

“When you speak to Minister Blair and beachgoers on the NSW north coast it is clear that SMART drum lines have restored a sense of confidence.

“A few years ago those communities were decimated by a spate of shark attacks.

“Since the SMART drum lines were rolled out there have been no serious incidents. Through the tagging element of the program, the NSW Government are now actively tracking almost 300 white sharks.

“The community is right behind the technology and The Nationals WA have advocated for a trial to be taken up off WA beaches.”

Warren-Blackwood MP Terry Redman, whose electorate takes in the beaches near Gracetown where two surfers were attacked by sharks within hours earlier this year, said the McGowan Government’s inaction had damaged the South West economy.

“Businesses in Margaret River and surrounding communities have taken a hit since the dual attack in April,” Mr Redman said.

“Finally – after almost 18 months in power – the McGowan Government has pulled its head from the sand and agreed to a SMART drum line trial.

“It will take a long time to repair the damage which has been inflicted on the local economy but this is at least a step in the right direction.”

Mr Redman called on the Government to expedite the installation of the drum lines off Gracetown, saying any delay would further damage confidence among locals and visitors.