Outrage: Federal revolt over shark ruling

 

OUTRAGED Federal MPs are demanding the Environment Minister circumvent a court ruling that forces shark drum lines to be removed from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Ten Queensland Liberal and National MPs and senators have signed a sedate joint statement, but behind the scenes privately Environment Minister Sussan Ley is being heavily pressured to step in by a key group.

The State Government yesterday lost an appeal in the Federal Court to use drum lines to prevent shark attacks.

Led by Dawson MP George Christensen and Senator Matt Canavan, and with the support of Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch, the statement says they are concerned about the court decision's implications for the "protection of human life in the Great Barrier Reef and the health of the tourism industry in North Queensland".

"As Liberal National Party Members of Parliament we remain united on putting the safety of human life first and supporting our great tourism industry in North Queensland.

"We are currently reviewing the implications of the decision and what might be the appropriate response.

"Our number one priority is - and always will be - the protection of human life.

"We support the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's permission granted to the Queensland Government on June 2, 2017. for the Queensland Government to implement a shark control program. The use of drum lines and other techniques have been used for decades and they have saved lives.

"People are looking for a solution and all levels of Government should work towards the protection of human life.

"We will fight to ensure that proven, lifesaving measures can remain in use to help ensure the safety of everyone enjoying Central and North Queensland's beautiful coastline."

The statement was signed by Queensland MPs Warren Entsch, Phillip Thompson, George Christensen, Michelle Landry, Ken O'Down, Luke Howarth and senators Matt Canavan, Susan McDonald, James McGrath, Amanda Stoker and Paul Scarr.

Meanwhile, Queensland Opposition Deputy Leader Tim Mander said the Queensland Government should "get creative" and find a way to keep the drumlines in.

Senator Matthew Canavan is one of the politicians to sign the statement. Picture: Brendan Radke
Senator Matthew Canavan is one of the politicians to sign the statement. Picture: Brendan Radke

Asked repeatedly if he wanted Canberra to pass new laws to resolve the issue, he said that was an issue that needed to be resolved, but would take some time.

"(In the meantime) we can't have this gap where there is no protection for north Queensland swimmers," he said.

"This State Government's responsibility is to ensure that Queenslanders going for a swim at the beach in north Queensland will be protected from shark attacks.

"They can't abdicate this responsibility. They have to make it work, they have to be innovative, they have to find a solution."

He said other states had trialled different measures that could comply with the court directions.

"The courts have not said that the drumlines have to go but there are certain conditions that need to be complied with so this Government needs to be innovative and creative and work out ways to make sure that swimmers in north Queensland are protected," he said.