LETTERS: Action, mature debate and logical approach over sharks

Alan Brown of Ballina is asking the government to provide protective measures before the summer holidays so incidences like Craig Ison's shark attack at Evans Head don't happen again.
Alan Brown of Ballina is asking the government to provide protective measures before the summer holidays so incidences like Craig Ison's shark attack at Evans Head don't happen again. Samantha Elley

Action wanted now

WE ARE calling for proven protective measures for swimmers, surfers and tourists by installing safety nets and traditional drum lines from Brunswick Heads to Evans Head.

We are also seeking government support and approval for the re-introduction of commercial shark fishers to effectively manage the safety nets and drum lines in the short term. The above are the immediate short term measures to be done, now! There are longer term measures needed (like shark population management). This is a matter to be discussed more fully.

We are staggered at how long it takes for the government to make effective protective changes for our community.

We are calling the community to get prepared for any community consultation/protest.

This is urgent! 

We are calling on the government to implement these proven protection measures by December 20, in time for school holidays.

We ask that our Mayor, David Wright, contact Premier Mike Baird and Minister Josh Frydenberg ( Federal Minister for Environment and Energy ) to seek their approval and implementation of safety nets, traditional drum lines and the re-introduction of commercial shark fishers to effectively manage the safety nets and drum lines.

There are less than nine weeks to implement the safety nets and lines before the school holidays and every day until then has the potential of another fatality.

Let's hope and pray there are no more shark attacks before then.

Yours sincerely

Alan Brown        



Mature debate needed

I FULLY agree with David Kirkpatrick that we do need a "mature debate about sharks". We need a Premier who has the capacity to consult with communities. Mike Baird has proven that it he has very little understanding of what consultation is and how to do it.  

This is not unusual with coalition governments. They often see community consultation as a waste of time and resources. It is just more 'red tape' that costs too much money. So what we have seen, is a long list of poor decisions that have to be changed. Eventually this costs the taxpayer a pile more than if a decent consultation had been completed in the first place. 

Lately we have seen Mike Baird backing down on decisions that seemed 'set in cement'". The latest is the Greyhound Industry, after National Party pollies jumped up and down and forced Baird to back down. The shark nets are another. Will it be nets or not?  

Another issue that gets up my nose was the stuff up of road signs at the M1/Bangalow turnoff. All the government needed to do was put up a sign that told us that one way to Lismore is via Bangalow. But due to a lack of community consultation we are told the only way to Lismore is via Ballina. Its nuts! It all could have been avoided. Even a phone call to Jenny Dowell would have sorted it out. So how much will this stuff up cost the taxpayer?  

The jewel in the crown of stuff-ups was the $25m to buy back the licences on unconventional gas mining. A decent consultation would have saved this community and the taxpayer a whole pile of money, time and effort. Our government chose to listen to the gas mining industry instead and paid heavily for that. Good community consultation saves money.  

This NSW government seems to have few processes that involve communities in the decision making process. Are they really all that interested in consultation? To be honest I don't think they are. Baird seems to be using a 1950s style leadership. The man at the top makes a quick decision and backs himself, that is until it blows up in his face or there is a court case.  

Expect decent community consultation from a coalition government? The history says they don't know how. The notion that a decent community consultation requires skilled negotiators, a well-financed plan and decent reports to inform decision makers, is not often the coalition way. It's way too 'soft and fluffy' for our Liberal 'action men'. 

Trevor Acfield


Net benefit

KEITH Williams of Australian Seabird Rescue stated that we could expect up to 20 dead dolphins in Ballina if the shark nets go in (NS 14/10).

The NSW DPI records show that over the last 10 years an average of 2.7 dolphins per year have been caught in the nets in the 200 kilometre stretch from Newcastle to Wollongong.

The nets are fitted with acoustic warning devices to alert dolphins and whales.

In Qld the Dept of Fisheries records show that the average is 10 dolphins per year over the last five years in the 1200 kilometre stretch from Coolangatta to Cairns. On those numbers Mr Williams is letting his imagination run wild if he thinks up to 20 dolphins will be caught in the Ballina area during a six month trial period.

Jim Dougherty,


Logical approach

RE: Shark net 'stupidity': If you entered the African or North American wilderness would you:

(a) Take personal safeguards?

(b) Take personal safeguards and governmental advice?

(c) Expect the local, state or federal governments to enclose the area you will be traveling in to keep the predatory animals out?

(d) Expect the local, state or federal governments to kill all the predatory animals that enter the area, knowing full well that other predatory animals will eventually enter?

In my view (a) and/or (b) are the logical answers. (c) and/or (d) have unnecessary secondary effects. In the case of shark nets, who is going to untangle the whales and retrieve the multiple dead carcasses of the by-catch, such as, turtles, whales, harmless sharks, dolphins etc?

Karl Sprogis.

Topics:  letters to the editor opinion shark attack shark nets

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