Hon Ben Franklin MLC with local surf live savers at the launch of the drone program.
Hon Ben Franklin MLC with local surf live savers at the launch of the drone program.

$8 million plan to protect beach users from sharks

NORTHERN Rivers beaches will be safer than ever before after the NSW Government increased funding for shark management technologies.

The $8 million dollar investment will improve the safety of Northern Rivers beachgoers, employing drones, smart drumlines and listening stations to detect sharks.

MLC Ben Franklin said the move was made following a review of current shark management practices by the NSW Government.

"We know how devastating the events of a few years ago were. That's why the NSW Government implemented a broad ranging shark mitigation strategy to be reviewed after five years," Mr Franklin said.

"The review has now taken place and I am delighted that drones, smart drumlins and listening stations will remain a fixture at our beaches into the future," Mr Franklin said.

The investment is set to be beneficial to several Northern Rivers beaches which will be protected by the new technology.

"We are partnering with Surf Lifesaving NSW to deploy drones at 34 beaches up and down the coast, including South Kingscliff/Cudgen, Cabarita, Main Beach Byron Bay, Seven Mile Beach Lennox Head, Sharpes Beach Ballina, Shelley Beach Ballina, Lighthouse Beach Ballina and Airforce Beach Evans Head," Mr Franklin said

"This is good news for our region's coastal communities and I am thrilled that the NSW Government is continuing to take local beachgoer safety seriously," Mr Franklin said.

Minister Agriculture Adam Marshall said the improvements maintained the shark-management program as one of the best in the world.

"Our world-leading research showed SMART drumlins and drones are the most effective detection and surveillance tools, which is why the NSW Government will deploy new drones at 34 beaches across the State and maintain SMART drumlins in high-risk locations," Mr Marshall said.

"While no government can ever fully reduce the risk of shark interactions at our beaches this new program is backed by world-leading research and will provide the best in modern protection methods to our coastal communities," Mr Marshall said

For more information, see www.sharksmart.nsw.gov.au.