Humane Society International is dismayed the Queensland Government is doubling down on its unscientific shark control program and for its disgraceful display of cheap political point scoring over the issue of shark control.
The Queensland Labor Government has today announced an extra $17.1 million of Queensland taxpayer money to be spent on baiting, trapping and shooting sharks on its beaches, despite a Federal Tribunal recently finding the evidence to be "overwhelming” that killing sharks makes no difference to human safety. The announcement includes an investment of $1 million a year for four years to trial new technologies, an amount paling in comparison to the investment in the lethal component of the program.
Australian charity Humane Society International is engaged in ongoing legal action against the Queensland Government and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority over the shark culling program in operation in Australia's World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef.
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal ruled in favour of HSI in April, finding that killing sharks does not reduce the risk of unprovoked shark interactions. They found the scientific evidence to be "overwhelming in this regard". It stated in its judgement that "it is plain from the evidence given in these proceedings that Queensland's lethal SCP is out of step with national and international developments.
"The Queensland Government is clutching at straws after it was proven in court this year that its shark control program makes no difference to swimmer safety. Even its own expert witness admitted this in court. Now it has launched a bizarre accusation against the NSW Government and the NSW public to distract from the fact that it is its own taxpayers who will be forking out money for a program with no scientific basis,” said Nicola Beynon, HSI's Head of Campaigns.
"The Queensland Government has launched a Federal Court appeal against the tribunal's directive, spending more Queensland taxpayer money to fight to kill sharks despite it making no difference to human safety. HSI welcomes the announcement that Queensland will finally invest in non-lethal alternatives, but to expand funding for its existing program is a huge waste of money. The Queensland Government should simply invest in the latest non-lethal technology freely available for swimmer safety. Personal shark deterrent subsidies, alert systems, drone technology, better education and signage are the way forward for Queensland," concluded Ms Beynon.
HSI is preparing for the Queensland Department of Fisheries' appeal to be heard this August in the Federal Court of Australia in Brisbane.
The full decision of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal can be found here.
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