Mirani MP Stephen Andrew has accused the State Government of dragging its heels on the SMART drumlines trial.
Mirani MP Stephen Andrew has accused the State Government of dragging its heels on the SMART drumlines trial.

MP accuses government of stalling CQ SMART drumlines trial

Planning is under way for a SMART drumline trial in Central Queensland waters later this year, but Mirani MP Stephen Andrew has slammed the government for "dragging its heels" on the rollout.

Fisheries Minister Mark Furner did not respond to questions about when the CQ trial would start or which particular areas would be included.

SMART drumlines trigger an alert when a shark is caught so it can be tagged and released.

They have been used in New South Wales for the past five years on a trial basis.

The Palaszczuk Government conceded defeat and announced a trial 12 months ago after losing a court appeal and repeatedly arguing SMART drumlines would not work.

It returned drumlines to the marine park in February 2020, shifting to a catch and release program and announcing a SMART drumlines trial in line with a tribunal order.

Mirani MP Stephen Andrew said the State Government had been given more than enough time to implement the new SMART drumline trial.

"The people of Queensland have had nothing but stalling from the State Government ever since (the trial was announced)," Mr Andrew said.

"The New South Wales Government has been using the system for more than five years, so it's not as though they need to test any of the technology.

"The government's delay isn't sensible, either for human safety or the sharks."

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Mr Furner said the government was investing $1 million each year in Shark Control Program innovation.

"A SharkSmart drone trial is under way in southeast Queensland and planning has commenced for a SMART drumline trial in central Queensland in 2021," he said.

"The Queensland Government will not compromise on the safety of water users and will continue investing in the Program.

"The government is committed to continuous improvement, but will not make changes until effective alternatives suitable for Queensland conditions are identified."

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