May 23, 2018
WA Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly will offer subsidies for a shark deterrent device for surfers after the NSW Government released research into its effectiveness.
Mr Kelly confirmed last night that he would extend the State Government’s rebate scheme for personal shark deterrents to include the surfing-specific product Surf+, manufactured by Perth company Shark Shield.
The commitment came just hours after Mr Kelly had threatened to withhold funding for the device unless NSW released a report into its effectiveness, despite describing it as “very effective”.
The NSW Government said yesterday that it would bring forward the release of the report to today, prompting Mr Kelly’s decision.
He denied he was playing politics with people’s lives, or that his comments had anything to do with NSW’s offer last week to lend WA several smart drum lines.
[The shark shield.]
The shark shield.Picture: Supplied
The decision means the product will be the second accredited under the WA Government’s scheme to attract a subsidy when it becomes eligible from Friday.
“We want to make this device available to surfers today — all that needs to happen is the NSW minister needs to release that report,” Mr Kelly said. “We believe this device will save lives.”
A draft report funded by NSW and carried out by Flinders University found the device reduced the risk of shark attack by 60 per cent.
Under the WA Government’s scheme, which was doubled to $400,000 last year after strong demand, products that met mandated standards could get a $200 rebate.
But surfers had argued the scheme was inadequate because the only eligible device, Shark Shield’s Freedom 7, was designed for divers.
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