The WA Government has announced three new initiatives to keep swimmers safe from shark attacks.
A new Beach Emergency Numbering system has been developed to improve emergency response times.
Local councils in metropolitan areas will have access to grants of up to $25,000 to implement the system and regional councils will have access to grants if up to $50,000.
“During the election, we committed to using new technologies to provide greater protection for surfers and divers who are most at risk of a shark attack,” said WA Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly.
“We also promised to offer financial assistance to local councils who wish to introduce emergency response signs along beaches with public access.”
The government will also offer a rebate of $200 on 1,000 individual shark deterrent devices.
Mr Kelly said these devices are designed to aid the most vulnerable water uses — surfers and divers.
“A total of 13 out of 15 victims of fatal shark attacks in WA since 2000 have been surfers or divers,” he said.
“Faced with these facts, providing these water users with additional protection makes the most sense.”
Beach enclosures, which will keep families safe by preventing sharks from coming near the shore, will be implemented at certain beaches in WA.
One of these beaches is Falcon Bay in Mandurah, where surfer Ben Gerring tragically died after being attacked by a shark.
His brother, Rick Gerring, has been working with the government to create these new initiatives, in the hopes that they will prevent further shark-related tragedies from happening in our waters.
Leticia Broun, also from Mandurah, died on Easter Monday after being bitten on the leg by a shark while surfing in Esperance.
“Our community in Mandurah has really taken a hit in the last 11 months, with Ben [Gerring] and Laeticia [Brouwer], as well,” Mr Gerring said.
“I want people in the water.
“I want people to enjoy our lifestyle, the same lifestyle that I’ve grown up with.
“That enclosure will definitely provide the reassurance to people.”
Mr Kelly has once again stated he does not support a shark cull.
“We don’t support a shark cull because there’s no evidence it actually makes our beaches safer,” he said.
“There’ve been 11 fatal shark attacks since 2008, when the previous government was elected, so clearly their measures didn’t solve this problem.”
Mr Gerring said that despite the tragedy has family has endured, he does not hate sharks.
“I’ve never had a hatred for sharks,” he said.
“I was a scuba-dive instructor, I’ve spent thousands-upon-thousands of hours in the water surfing and diving, I love the water and I always will.
“We need to mitigate our risks as best we can and there’s no one silver bullet or one way that will protect everyone.
“It’s a link of chains and the more links you have in that chain, the better protection everyone has.”
The government is also providing $6 million in funding for Royal Life Saving WA, which will go towards maintaining their rescue helicopters, drone trials and provide more certainty around their jetski program.
The new funding comes as a great relief, after the former Liberal Government had only guaranteed funding until June 30 this year.