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Locations for next beach enclosures announced

20 July 2015

• Sorrento Beach in the north and Middleton Beach in Albany to get funding for new swimming enclosures
• In addition to enclosures already funded for Dunsborough and Busselton
• Brings the total number of State Government-funded enclosures in WA to four

The State Government will fund new shark enclosures at Albany’s Middleton Beach and Sorrento Beach in Perth’s northern suburbs.

Premier and Science Minister Colin Barnett today revealed the two locations which have been selected in consultation with Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA), the local government authorities concerned and with reference to the Hydrobiology report, which assessed the effectiveness of the trial of the first beach enclosure at Old Dunsborough Beach between January and April last year.

“The Government has already paid for enclosures in Dunsborough and Busselton. The State Budget 2015-16 saw a further allocation of $400,000 to fund two more swimming enclosures,” the Premier said.

“I am pleased to confirm that swimmers in Perth’s northern suburbs should soon have access to a protected bathing area just south of Hillarys Boat Harbour at Sorrento Beach, while in the Great Southern, people at Albany’s beautiful Middleton Beach should also be able to swim within an enclosure.”

Mr Barnett said the Hydrobiology report, Review of the Dunsborough Beach Enclosure Trial commissioned by the Office of Science, had identified 21 locations around the State that could potentially be suitable for the installation of beach enclosures, including Busselton, Hillarys Boat Harbour and Middleton Beach.

The Premier said SLSWA had noted that Hillarys Beach, enclosed within the boat harbour, already offered a relatively safe swimming area and were satisfied that Sorrento Beach, to the immediate south of the marina, was a suitable alternate location with all the same advantages of Hillarys Beach. 

Mr Barnett said SLSWA had also stressed the importance of consultation with the local surf life saving clubs at the identified beaches, with respect to the location and dimensions of the barrier to ensure the activities of beach users were considered.

Local government authorities would also now be engaged further to consider any factors at a local scale that may influence the exact locations for the deployment of enclosures.

The Premier said the Government had had some discussions with the City of Joondalup and the City of Albany.  It is understood that the Albany council would like to consider the matter further.

Mr Barnett said having enclosures located in Old Dunsborough, Busselton, Coogee (supported by the City of Cockburn), Albany and Sorrento offered a good distribution of protected swimming enclosures, at high-use areas.

“Over time, the State Government will consider further locations for more enclosures, both in the metro area and in country areas,” he said.

“While beach enclosures provide protection for near shore ocean users from the risk of shark attack, they are currently only suitable for installation at low energy (low wave) beaches.”

The Premier said the beach enclosures would further complement the Government’s comprehensive suite of shark hazard mitigation measures to address public safety at beaches.

This year the State Government has allocated $2.461 million to beach and aerial patrols for the 2015-16 season, plus an extra $655,000 per annum for the next three years, for extended aerial patrols in the South-West.

This season the extended patrols in the South-West will run daily from November 24, 2015 to February 1, 2016 and over school holiday periods, weekends and public holidays from September 27, 2015 to November 23, 2015 and then from February 2, 2016 to April 30, 2016 (on standby and available Monday-Friday outside of school holidays).

The State Government has committed $28 million to shark mitigation measures including aerial patrols and beach surveillance by SLSWA, the Shark Monitoring Network, research projects, community awareness, new equipment for SLSWA, patrol towers at Cottesloe and the resources to activate the serious threat policy as necessary.

Fact File
• Local government authorities will be responsible for design and installation of barriers
• For more information, visit http://www.sharksmart.com.au
• Click  here to read the Review of the Dunsborough Beach Enclosure Trial

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