Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren has backed a new study that has found that the WA Government’s ‘Imminent Threat’ shark policy is largely based on Jaws movie mythology, saying the Premier’s public comments over the past decade reveal an alarming level of determined ignorance.
“Back in 2003, the Premier was convinced that a single shark was lurking off Cottesloe, preying on the people of the western suburbs,” Ms MacLaren said.
“He spelled out this fear when in opposition in 2003, telling the WA Parliament that the shark that fatally bit Ken Crew in 2000 was still ‘menacing’ Cottesloe and ‘will return again’.
“In October of the same year, he issued a press release calling for Fisheries officers to be given the power to kill any big sharks that came close to the coast.
“Eleven years on, it seems our Premier’s keen personal interest in killing sharks is undiminished yet sadly in all that time he has become no more informed, even while the rest of us have long moved on.
“The Premier continues to talk about ‘rogue sharks’ that ‘lurk’ off our beaches, despite a huge amount of world-class research by the Department of Fisheries that has shown that white sharks are highly transient visitors to our coastline and do not show strong affiliations to any area or patterns of movement.
“The Premier has stated that he will introduce a new policy for killing sharks this summer, and that he does not intend for it to undergo environmental assessment.
“Wrong, Premier. You may attempt to dodge scrutiny by timing the release of a policy for the middle of the festive season, much like you rushed through a dodgy drum line tender process last Christmas, but there are thousands of Western Australians ready to fight you on this.
“I advise you to consider your chances of sidestepping science, logic and public scrutiny extremely slim.”
Note to editors: see the Hansard of the Premier's comments on 30 October 2003, while in opposition, here: