The Nationals WA are calling on the McGowan Government to initiate an immediate trial of SMART drum lines in the South West after hearing first-hand how effective the technology has been in New South Wales.
Fisheries spokesperson Colin de Grussa, along with fellow MPs Terry Redman, Colin Holt and Peter Rundle, held meetings over the weekend with NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair to discuss the Berejiklian Government’s trial results.
Mr de Grussa said WA Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly needed to “remove his head from the sand” and take up NSW on their generous offer to loan SMART drum lines to WA for the purposes of a trial.
“NSW are being proactive in this space and are going out of their way to assist WA,” Mr de Grussa said.
“Minister Blair is increasingly confident in the technology and this is being reflected in the community’s feedback at trial sites.”
Mr Redman, whose electorate takes in beaches near Gracetown where two surfers were attacked within hours in April, said he was convinced SMART drum lines would help restore confidence for beachgoers and tourists in the area.
“What is really interesting is that in areas where nets have been historically used in NSW, water users are asking they be removed and replaced with SMART drum lines,” Mr Redman said.
“Given WA has critical emerging issues around water safety and the impact it has on tourism branding and major events, I don’t understand why Dave Kelly won’t put resources towards supporting what has been a very effective strategy in NSW.”
NSW has offered to lend WA five SMART drum lines but Mr Kelly has so far refused the proposal, estimating it would cost $75 million a year for a comprehensive rollout.
“The cost Mr Kelly has quoted is way off the mark, according to Minister Blair,” Mr de Grussa said.
“We were told the east coast program is costing $16 million over four years, which includes an integrated strategy of aerial surveillance, drones and drum lines.
“The Nationals will keep working with Minister Blair and the NSW Government to convince the Labor McGowan Government that at very least, a trial of this technology is the best way forward for WA.
“A trial of the SMART drum lines will go a long way to restoring confidence at WA’s popular surfing and swimming beaches.”