Dunsborough swimming enclosure “success” not supported by evidence

Claims by the State Government that a net-style shark-proof swimming enclosure at Dunsborough was a “success” are not supported by evidence showing structural holes in it large enough for sharks to swim through, the WA Greens say.

“As evidenced by photographs and eye witness accounts, the Old Dunsborough net enclosure, which was modelled on Gold Coast gear, had huge holes due to poor design,” Greens MLc Lynn MacLaren said.

“This begs the question why the WA Government thumbed its nose at

 using the WA technology known as Eco Shark Barrier, which eventually was tested, using private money due to State Government lack of interest, at Coogee, and was a huge success.

“Despite not yet releasing the review of last summer’s Dunsborough enclosure, which was due in June, the Premier is claiming the Dunsborough net was a complete success.

“Meanwhile, in response to my questions in Parliament, the Premier has confirmed the Government won’t fund an enclosure at Dunsborough again but expects ratepayers and residents in Busselton to pay for it instead.

“Given the Premier and WA Acting Tourism Minister have been fearmongering about a shark attack occurring this summer in the South-West, the lack of commitment to funding genuine, popular protection measures is bizarre,” Ms MacLaren concluded.

Busselton businessman and Greens Candidate for Vasse Michael Baldock, who is also Dunsborough Primary School P&C president and School Board Chair, said he had personally swum through some of the big holes in the Dunsborough “shark-proof” enclosure.

“If the Premier is sincere in claiming that a shark attack is likely this summer, he would be funding Eco Shark Barriers – and not an inferior product – at locations in the South-West this summer, including Dunsborough, Gnarabup, Gracetown and Busselton,” Mr Baldock said.

“He would also be finding a way to subsidise personal shark repellent devices and SurfSafe boards or similar for surfers  and divers, and urgently improving shark surveillance and warning systems, as well as supporting community-initiated shark patrols that are currently being discussed in the Margaret River area.

“Given the wide-roaming behaviour of great white sharks, neither drum lines nor a Tactical Response-style hunt-and-kill squad, are going to provide protection,” Mr Baldock said. 

Ms Maclaren concluded: “The Greens call on the Government to put its money where its mouth is on sharks and fund genuine protection measures from the money freed up with cancellation of the drum lines.”