Scot MacDonald
DRONE PROGRAM FOR HUNTER BEACHES
19th Sep 2018

Beach safety in at Birubi and Redhead will reach new heights this summer, with the NSW Liberal National Government’s drone program expanded to more NSW beaches.

NSW Surf Live Saving lifeguards will be assisted by drones at 15 beaches along the NSW coast including two in the Hunter, enabling potential risks to be spotted faster than ever before.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald MLC said the expansion of the drone trial was great news for beachgoers and lifeguards.

“The NSW Government drone trial began at nine beaches last year, and this year it has been expanded to cover Birubi and Redhead from 1st November,” Mr MacDonald said.

“Our lifeguards work tirelessly over the warmer months, so I’m pleased that they will be supported with the latest available technology to help keep our community safe.”

“The birds-eye perspective from the drones will allow our lifeguards to spot potential risks faster, with potentially life-saving consequences,” Lake Macquarie City Councillor Nick Jones said.

“Every year, thousands of visitors come to enjoy our crystal clear water and beautiful beaches in Port Stephens,” Port Stephens Councillor and Liberal candidate for Port Stephens Jaimie Abbott said.

“The expansion of this trial is also fantastic news for our local community as it improves the safety of beachgoers, while not posing a threat to our precious marine life.”

Mr MacDonald said that while prevention of attacks and drownings was the priority, the trial would also inform future approaches for the NSW Shark Management Strategy.

“This trial will be useful to assess the operational aspects of using drones by a volunteer organisation and it will also provide more in-depth data about the behaviour of sharks in NSW waters.”

The trial will complement helicopter aerial surveillance for the upcoming school holidays from the Tweed to Wollongong. The drone trials will continue until the end of April 2019.