Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly today unveiled a new multi-faceted shark mitigation strategy that included funding the pre-election commitment made by Zak Kirkup MP to install a shark barrier at Falcon Bay.
This is an amazing announcement that could not have happened without the hundreds of people who had been part of this community campaign. Particular thanks need to go to Premier Mark McGowan, Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly, Mandurah MLA David Templeman, Rick Gerring and the Mandurah Board Riders Association.
The announcement will see $200,000 go to the City of Mandurah to install a beach enclosure at Falcon Beach. This will go a long way to protecting families who swim at Falcon and will turn the beach into the premiere beach in Mandurah.
I have been in touch with the Premier and Minister, thanked them and offered to host a community meeting where they can help share this good news.
A timeline of how we got here.
While the previous Liberal Government had spent a significant amount of time and money to protecting those who used our oceans, the community wanted more local action at our beaches.
created a petition - SEPTEMBER 2016
A petition was created, urging the then Liberal State Government to install a Shark Barrier at Falcon Bay.
Hundreds of people have signed up urging the Government to consider installing a barrier at Falcon. This was not a pointless exercise: it was the best possible way to demonstrate to the State Government that there is broad community support behind this concept.
community meeting with the THEN premieR - NOVember 2016 & january 2017
Responding to the significant support from local residents, I arranged for two community meetings with then Premier Colin Barnett.
Almost 100 people were there to voice their concerns about swimming, surfing and diving off our coast. Resident's complained about the gutting and cleaning of fish on shore at Avalon as well as lobster pots at Falcon Bay. I also spoke with RecFishWest and State Government agencies about this issue;
This was an important step whereby the then Premier announced in January 2017 that the shark barrier would be funded if the Liberals were re-elected.
Unfortunately the Liberals were not returned and as a result, more work needed to be done on behalf of the community to work with the now Labor Government in getting this commitment installed.
WORKING WITH MANDURAH MP, DAVID TEMPLEMAN - MARCH 2017
Immediately after being declared as the Members for Dawesville & Mandurah, David Templeman and I met to discuss how could better work together on important local issues. We were both committed to putting politics aside and making sure that we got the very best outcomes for Mandurah and the Peel Region.
At this meeting, a range of issues were discussed - including the importance of taking action on shark mitigation and getting a barrier installed at Falcon Bay.
KEEPING THE MOMENTUM - APRIL & MAY 2017
While still in opposition, we worked together in the community to keep the momentum going. This saw more than 2000 people engage & provide their suggestions to the Premier on how we can respond to the growing threat of sharks. One of the most popular measures by far, was the installation of a shark barrier at Falcon Bay. You can see the results of this community action campaign here: www.kirkup.com.au/infographic
GETTING CANBERRA'S ATTENTION
Together with your Federal MP Andrew Hastie, we've been working to get Canberra to take more action on this important issue. Already we've secured an agreement from the Federal Government that they would consider removing the white shark as a threatened species.
This is an important step in getting the powers that be in Canberra to recognise that shark attacks are a very real issue in our community and that more needs to be done.