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Source: New South Wales Department of Primary Industries

18 Nov 2020

Surf lifesavers and local councils will receive further support to keep the public safe with the NSW Government today launching a program to increase shark surveillance measures.

Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall said the Shark Observation Grants program would allow organisations to apply for funding for drones, observation towers and equipment, emergency evacuation alarms and communication systems.

“We are ramping up efforts to ensure swimmers have a safe summer at the beach by putting more eyes in the sky and keeping a close watch on sharks,” Mr Marshall said.

“Drones are the most effective detection and surveillance tool, and other observation and evacuation systems play a critical role in reducing the risk of shark attacks, and today the NSW Government is bolstering its support for additional surveillance measures.

“This program means local councils, Marine Rescue NSW, and Surf Life Saving NSW will have greater resources to watch over our waters and that people in distress can get help as quickly as possible.

“Applications could be for new equipment, or for improvements to existing shark detection infrastructure, on beaches and headlands for effective shark detection, community awareness and enhanced bather safety.”

The Shark Observation Grants Program complements the NSW Government’s recently-announced $8 million 2020/21 Shark Program, which includes:

  • 35 SMART drumlines in the Ballina and Richmond Valley Local Government Areas;
  • a network of 21 VR4G listening stations; and,
  • drone aerial surveillance along 34 beaches of the NSW coast during the September-April school holidays.

SLSNSW President George Shales said the funding was an important boost for those on the frontline of shark surveillance and beach management.

“The Shark Observation Grants have allowed us to enhance our UAV program by helping us train more pilots and have equipment available at more locations,” Mr Shales said.

“There is nothing more important to this Government when it comes to our beaches than swimmer safety,” Mr Marshall said.

“There is always a natural element of risk every time we enter the water however the State’s significant investments in shark mitigation and monitoring methods mean we are better informed and prepared than ever before.”

For more information or to apply for a grant visit SharkSmart website. Applications close Friday, 11 December 2020.

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Media contact: Luke O’Donnell 0427 837 497