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More patrols, second shark barrier for South-West

More patrols, second shark barrier for South-West

26 September 2014

Aerial patrols of South-West beaches by Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) will start eight weeks earlier than planned, Premier Colin Barnett announced today.

**The following statement was issued by the Premier, the Hon Colin Barnett, MLA

  • ​Aerial patrols of South-West beaches by SLSWA to start in time for October school holidays
  • State Government will provide additional $650,000 in 2014-15 to SLSWA to extend aerial patrols in the South-West
  • Independent report finds shark barrier at Old Dunsborough Beach was a success
  • New enclosure to be installed at Busselton

Aerial patrols of South-West beaches by Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) will start eight weeks earlier than planned, Premier Colin Barnett announced today.

Mr Barnett said the State Government would provide SLSWA with an additional $650,000 in 2014-15 to extend aerial patrols to cover the school holiday period beginning this Saturday and weekends and public holidays, before daily patrols start over the summer period (from November 24 to February 4, 2015).

The new arrangement will mean an additional 65 patrol days and 280 patrol hours for the South-West. There will be daily aerial patrols over the October school holidays.

“This will provide greater protection to beach users in the South-West and will bring the patrols closer into line with the arrangements currently in place for the metropolitan area,” he said.

“Aerial patrols have proven very useful in spotting potential shark threats and, combined with local government and surf lifesavers on the shore, have enabled beach users to get real time advice on the risks at beaches.”

The Premier said that while based in the South-West and patrolling, the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue helicopter would also be available to perform other rescue work as required.

Mr Barnett also announced today that a report evaluating the success of the State Government’s $165,370 trial of a shark barrier at Old Dunsborough Beach found the trial had been successful. 

“Based on the success of that trial, the State has now offered to fund the manufacture and installation of a shark barrier at Busselton,” he said.

“The State Government will contribute up to $200,000 towards the cost of this project and will now work with the City of Busselton to identify the best site for the enclosure and the time frame for its installation.”

The Premier said the report had also identified a number of beaches that could be suitable for the future installation of shark barriers.  He said the report was now being considered by Government, with the immediate priority being the South-West.

Mr Barnett said the Government was committed to doing what it could to ensure the safety of beachgoers in the metropolitan area and the South-West.

“But it is important people are aware there are many hazards in the ocean and they must take responsibility for their own actions when they’re swimming or surfing, particularly at unpatrolled beaches,” he said.

Currently the State Government provides $2.6million each year (excluding today’s announcement) to SLSWA to conduct helicopter patrols in the metropolitan and South-West areas.

The State Government’s $22million shark hazard mitigation program also includes the provision of jet skis to surf clubs to assist with patrols and rescues; shark monitoring and research initiatives and research into alternative shark hazard mitigation measures - including acoustic and other deterrents.

Further information about beach conditions can be found at SLSWA’s website surflifesavingwa.com.au, its twitter feed or by downloading the My Beach app. 

Fact File

  • The extended aerial patrols will start this Saturday and run every day until the end of school holidays on October 12, 2014
  • The normal summer patrol period starts on November 24 and runs until February 4, 2015.  Patrols occur every day during the summer period
  • At the end of the summer period, the helicopter will resume patrols on school holidays, public holidays and weekends until April 30, 2015
  • In the metropolitan area, aerial patrols will run seven days a week from this weekend until  April 30, 2015, when they revert to weekends only

Premier's office - 6552 5200

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