Premier's office responds to local surfer's shark challenge
UPDATE, 3pm: PREMIER Mike Baird's office wants to get in touch with Le-Ba Boardriders president Don Munro.
Mr Munro told The Northern Star yesterday locals were upset about the lack of progress on the shark situation and he subsequently challenged Mr Baird to visit Lennox Head for a surf himself.
The comments, which appeared in a story and have since been tweeted to the Premier, have obviously registered with his office.
Mr Baird's media adviser asked The Northern Star via email to "please pass on my details to Mr Munro and ask him to be in touch by phone or email".
Mr Munro has said he will be in touch this afternoon.
He said while he had copped some criticism for his call for shark nets to be rolled out on the North Coast, "90% of people are backing me".
"The situation (at the moment) is really going nowhere," he said.
"(The government is) just wasting money."
Surfers and ocean users feel let down by the attitude of the Department of Primary Industries which seems to be more about protecting sharks than human life.
Mr Munro says he is "pushing as hard as I can" to get some real progress on ensuring people are safe over Christmas, and is considering putting on another urgent community meeting on the issue.
This morning five surfers had to leave the water when a two metre shark swam right underneath them directly out from the Lennox Head Surf Club, according to the Facebook page Shark Reports.
ORIGINAL: LENNOX-Ballina Boardriders president Don Munro has invited Premier Mike Baird to come surfing at Lennox Point over Christmas to put his faith in the state government's $16 million shark strategy on the line.
It comes as local anger mounts over the lack of results on the shark problem just a week out from the busy summer season.
"I want Mike Baird and his family to come up for Christmas, to come surfing with us at the Point with his kids," Mr Munro said.
"It's not going to happen."
Mr Munro said people felt the North Coast was being 'discriminated against' over the refusal of the NSW Government to contemplate traditional netting, currently used off 51 beaches from Wollongong to Newcastle.
"We've got to look to what's proven, and the nets are," he said.
Without nets, surfers were "no closer to being able to go back in the water".
Mr Munro said locals were also appalled by a Department of Primary Industries policy that 'smart' drum lines be used only during a "serious aggregation of sharks" or "after the next shark incident".
People were "gobsmacked" by the policy.
"One of the classic comments is 'I can't believe it' and 'you've got to be joking'," he said.
"What do they call an aggregation; there was four (sharks) yesterday, the day before there was 20 between Byron and Evans," he said.
"They're going to be sitting in the shed somewhere until there is a serious aggregation of sharks or after the incident.
"It's just lunacy.
"If they're serious, they've totally lost the plot, and they're (being) carelessly flippant with human life," he said.
The DPI confirmed the policy, saying in a statement that post-trial the technology "may be used at various NSW locations [only] following a shark incident or during heightened shark activity".
"Smart drumlines differ greatly from traditional drumlines as they are not designed to kill sharks," a DPI spokeswoman said.
"The state-of-the-art technology used is able to alert a response team to a captured shark, who then respond immediately to tag and relocate the shark.
"[So] the smart buoys can only be deployed when the appropriate response can be delivered... if they are left overnight or in bad weather and the response team cannot gain access to the equipment; this could result in the shark not being retrieved within the strict, required response time."