Rex told to put up or shut up

By MEGAN KINNINMENT

BYRON Shire mayor Jan Barham has challenged fishing guru Rex Hunt to either front up or shut up.

She has called for the television personality to make a formal complaint to police over the alleged bashing he received in Byron Bay last weekend.

If not, she wants him to apologise for the damage his comments have done to the town's reputation.

"If his claims (of being attacked) were correct then he should make a formal complaint," Cr Barham said.

"His comments are already hurting Byron Bay's tourism industry.

"I've had people tell me they are cancelling their holidays to Byron Bay because they believe him.

"I'm disappointed that one person is making damaging comments about our livelihood."

Earlier this week, Mr Hunt told The Herald Sun newspaper in Melbourne he would be visiting his solicitor on Wednesday to take legal action against a boy's parents because of the attack on his family members after leaving the Beach Hotel.

Mr Hunt said tourists were being targeted in the coastal town, saying it is more dangerous than Bali.

He said it was a 'time bomb waiting to go off' with an anti-tourist attitude which fuelled the violence.

Yesterday, Mr Hunt

declined to comment on whether he was going to follow through on his threats.

Cr Barham said she had been fielding media calls from around the country.

This included being pursued yesterday by national television crews, radio programs and the national press.

However, Cr Barham said the media circus surrounding the incident was now harming the tourist town.

"I don't think he has the right to impact on our town," she said.

"Rather than slamming us in the media, why hasn't he done the proper thing and made a complaint to the police?"

Ballina MP Don Page has also called on Mr Hunt to make a formal complaint to police.

"It would be helpful if Rex contacted the police," Mr Page said.



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