Media Release: 09.11.18
Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development and Minister for the Commonwealth Games – The Honourable Kate Jones
Ongoing safety education and new research will form the key pillars of a community and industry-backed approach to improving safety on Whitsunday waters.
Speaking after an industry and expert Roundtable today, Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones and Fisheries Minister Mark Furner have announced a five-point plan to improve safety on Whitsunday waters.
The plan will include:
- $250,000 towards scientific research into shark prevalence and behaviour in Cid Harbour;
- Maintaining Cid Harbour as a no-swim zone until that assessment is complete;
- A high-profile education campaign to immediately educate locals and visitors about shark safety;
- Development of a broader SharkWISE education campaign, similar to the successful CrocWISE campaign running in North Queensland; and
- Continue to meet with industry stakeholders and experts to develop and progress responses.
Ms Jones said today’s meeting gave the local tourism industry an opportunity to work directly with marine experts.
“We’ve listened to the advice of marine scientists and the local tourism industry and have a five-point plan to improve safety in the waters off the Whitsundays,” she said.
“All the experts agree that education is the key – that’s why, as a direct result of today’s roundtable, we’ve committed to a ‘SharkWISE’ campaign to educate people about the risks of swimming in some locations.
“The recent shark attacks in Cid Harbour were unprecedented and demonstrate that we need to do more to understand shark behaviours.
“That’s why we’ve also committed $250,000 for research so we can get a better grasp on these behaviours.
“We acknowledge the offer by the Prime Minister to assist and request that the Federal Government, responsible for Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, match our funding for this research.
“The Whitsundays is one of the most beautiful places in the world and we want to make sure people are as safe as possible when they come to visit.”
Minister Jones, Minister Furner and Whitsunday Mayor Andrew Willcox hosted the discussion, which was attended by representatives from Tourism Whitsundays, local tourism operators, Whitsunday Marine Advisory Group, Whitsunday Charter Boat Industry Association, Whitsunday Bareboat Industry Association, commercial fisherman, Queensland Police Service, University of Queensland, James Cook University, GBRMPA, Maritime Safety Queensland and Queensland Surf Lifesaving.
Minister Jones: Jack Harbour 0419 620 447
Minister Furner: Ron Goodman 0427 781 920