Environment Minister and City of Stirling in dispute over responsibility for whale carcass cleanup

WHO pays to take dead whales from beaches has split the Government and councils, after the City of Stirling dealt with a rotting humpback before another floated towards Cottesloe last week.

‘The land manager looks after the whale, and that’s the answer that stands here,’ Environment Minister Albert Jacob said.

‘So the City of Stirling has clear responsibility to manage its land here, much like they would a road kill, like a kangaroo.’

The same day Stirling ratepayers got a $170,000 bill for removing a Scarborough Beach carcass last week, a 12m dead humpback whale floated 8km west of Cable Station off Cottesloe in north-west winds.

Mr Jacob later waived a $742 landfill fee and $7246 charge for contaminated sand from Stirling’s whale but said his department was only responsible for carcasses in marine parks, port authorities in ship channels and the Department of Fisheries in other waters.

WA Local Government Association president Troy Pickard said the Government should immediately tow carcasses offshore for public safety, so councils did not have unfair costly clean-ups and to avoid a carcass breaking up when towed closer from shore.

‘Put simply, the State Government has a responsibility to manage State waters and mitigate the shark risk by removing whale carcasses well before they wash up on local beaches,’ he said.

Last Monday, Fremantle Port Authority towed the whale off Cottesloe 30km past Rottnest Island.

Cottesloe Mayor Jo Dawkins said $170,000 would put ‘a very large hole’ in her Town’s budget, so assurances would be sought from the Government to cover the cost of removing a carcass.

Mosman Park chief executive Kevin Poynton and a Fremantle Council spokesman both said Government reimbursement would be sought if there was dead whale south of Cottesloe.