Scot MacDonald
17th Jan 2018

Blacksmiths Beach in Lake Macquarie will receive priority funding from the NSW Liberal National Government to improve shark detection and beachgoer safety this summer, Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald MLC announced today.

“I am pleased to announce that Lake Macquarie City Council has been successful in receiving $33,290 in funding to purchase drone equipment and train staff to conduct a 14 week drone trial for shark observation and beach safety” Mr MacDonald said.

The funding is part of $200,000 on offer to community groups to improve shark surveillance and improve safety for beachgoers as part of the Shark Observation Grants Program. Nine projects in total were successful to receive priority funding to improve shark detection and beachgoer safety from NSW beaches this summer.

“For a number of years, the NSW Government has allocated grants up to a project total of $30,000 for local surf clubs and councils to improve shark surveillance at a number of the State’s beaches”.

“Improved surveillance on beaches provide a clearer line of vision for surf lifesavers to spot sharks and are also useful for spotting people in distress.

Mayor of Lake Macquarie Councillor Kay Fraser, said Lake Macquarie is blessed to have such a beautiful stretch of coastline that many residents and visitors take advantage of especially during the warmer months.

“This funding will help Council to continue its work in providing the community with accurate real-time updates on shark sightings, which allows our community to make informed decisions when visiting our beaches,” Cr Fraser said.                              

“In a first for the City, our Professional Beach Lifeguards will be working with pilots from our local Lake Macquarie Airport, the current DPI helicopter as well as the trial drone, with the aim to make it safer for all beachgoers.”

Under the program, a number of different projects can be funded, including observation towers, new observation equipment, emergency evacuation alarms and communication systems on beaches and headlands for effective shark detection, community awareness and enhanced bather safety. Applications may also be made for mobile structures or to compliment fixed observation tower projects and for observation equipment and warning systems to enhance bather safety.

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