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OPINION: We need a 'mature' debate about sharks

A 3.5m great white shark off Lighthouse Beach at Ballina.
A 3.5m great white shark off Lighthouse Beach at Ballina. NSW DPI

AT the start of this week, greyhound racing was going to be banned from next year and shark nets were not on the agenda for North Coast beaches.

The NSW Government's backflip on these issues could be seen by some as a sign of weakness, but I just think it makes life more interesting.

At least in NSW we don't have a "do nothing" government like we do at the federal level.

Better to have tried and failed at something than never to have tried at all.

But on the issue of shark nets and drum lines for the Far North Coast, there is likely to be stiff opposition to any potential roll-out of these mitigation measures.

I believe we can have a mature debate about sharks and what to do about this unusual conglomeration of attacks.

The NSW Government has promised extensive community consultation on the potential introduction of mesh nets, and judging by our poll this week on the issue, a slight majority of people simply don't want traditional netting on our beaches.

Meanwhile, Le-Ba Boardriders president Don Munro is on the record as saying he wants nets installed before the summer school holidays start.

So it is clear the NSW Government has a tough sell on its hands and won't win the day unless it gains the necessary social licence for change.

Either way, I think cool heads need to prevail in this controversial debate.

Topics:  nets politics protection sharks



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