A big Tiger Shark.
A big Tiger Shark.

Shark shocker: Fears for Bundy’s safety drumlines

THERE are growing concerns Shark Control Program measures off four Bundaberg beaches could be targeted for removal, after the Humane Society International (HSI) won a high court ruling to stop sharks being euthanised in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Following the ruling Fisheries Minister Mark Furner said HSI indicated "they will come after us in terms of looking at changes through other parts of the state", prompting fears drum lines and nets south of Gladstone, including those off Bundaberg, could be in the group's sights.

The Labor Government began removing 173 drumlins from 27 beaches between Gladstone and Cairns, but Minister for Fisheries Mark Furner said he would fight to keep drum lines in Bundaberg.

"This is what the HSI brought about in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and what they want to see happen in Bundaberg," he said.

The drum lines are being removed because the court ruling stops Shark Control Program workers euthanising sharks and those workers are not trained to handle live sharks.

Despite both sides of politics pledging to put swimmers safety first, they've fallen well short of uniting against HSI on the issue.

"While the LNP Opposition wavers and Queensland LNP Federal MPs demand action from the Federal Government, Bundaberg region LNP MPs have remained tight-lipped on whether they support the Shark Control Program at all," Mr Furner said.

"We have committed $1 million per year over the next four years to explore possible better options than drumlins and shark nets, but I will not back any changes until I am convinced that they will be just as good or better for swimmer safety than our current program."

But Member for Burnett Steve Bennett said as recently as April he made it very clear "we should always put people before sharks".

"Our stance on this issue has never changed, in that we believe the 173 drumlines used to protect Queenslanders in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park should continue to be used," he said.

And while Mr Bennett accepts handling live sharks was a difficult task, he argued the the Labor Government should have had the foresight to consider alternative measures ahead of the ruling.

"This is yet another example of a bungled policy from the Labor Government," he said.

"Instead of playing politics you have to ask, considering the Minister knew this perverse outcome was coming, what alternative protection methods have the Government proposed or have researched?"

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