$1 million for Whitsundays swimmer safety
THE Australian Government has committed $1 million to the Queensland Government to improve swimmer safety in the Whitsundays.
The funding will support greater understanding of shark populations, their behaviour, biology and ecology as well as improved reef user practices to enhance swimmer protection.
Funding will also cover trials of technological advances in non-lethal shark control measures such as near real-time alerts or drone surveillance.
Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the funding will assist in keeping swimmers safe while maintaining the health of the Great Barrier Reef.
"We are working with marine experts to protect both swimmers and the important ecosystems of the reef," she said.
"It is about scientific based solutions that will support local and international tourism, educate water users and help them feel safe in the water."
Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef and member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch said the funding reflected the right balance in ensuring swimmer safety and the integrity of the reef.
"Marine life is vital to the reef and the tourism industry, and we need to adopt a modern approach to ensuring swimmer safety," he said.
Member for Dawson George Christensen said recent shark attacks in the Whitsundays had highlighted the importance of the investment.
"The Whitsundays are a unique tourist destination and we need to do all that we can to help people feel safe," he said.
"We have been working closely with communities and tourism operators and this is an important show of support for our region."
The funding package supports the delivery of the joint Australian-Queensland Government Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan, relevant species management and recovery plans made under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and the National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks.