TENDERS COMING: The DPI will hire contractors to set and check the trial nets.
TENDERS COMING: The DPI will hire contractors to set and check the trial nets. DPI

Shark nets: Good for local jobs?

SHARK nets have been promised for Ballina and Evans Head by Christmas but will this mean jobs and growth for the Northern Rivers?

A DPI spokesman said the department would hire contractors to set and check the trial nets but could not confirm who the contractors would be.

"The specific details of these contract arrangements, including rates of pay and hours to be worked, will be determined with eligible tenderers as appropriate," said the spokesman. 

The spokesman reiterated that nets in the North Coast trial would be checked more often than the 72 hour routine used in Sydney but said "the exact regime [would] be informed by community feedback".

"The selected contractors will also be responsible for responding to wildlife alerts" said the spokesman.

Ballina MP Tamara Smith was unavailable for comment but a spokeswoman said beach patrol positions were currently voluntary and it seemed strange to connect shark mitigation strategies to job creation.

When responding to high than average electricity bills in the Ballina electorate last week Ms Smith said people there had "higher rates of disadvantage".

The spokeswoman said Ms Smith has sought funding from the Baird government for extra positions as part of the Shark Watch program and expected a response by the end of November.

Volunteer positions in the Byron Shire were currently sponsored by Byron Shire Council.

Surf life saving clubs on the North Coast have previously reported a decline in volunteer membership numbers due to trauma experienced after responding to shark encounters.

Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson has been contacted for comment.


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