No Govt funds for shark barrier

‘Will the State Government step in to fund the remainder of the City of Cockburn’s contribution? No it will not. The proponent pulled out of the tender process,’ Mr Barnett said on May 20.

Cockburn was seeking $150,000 for half the three-year cost of the 300m-long, privately developed Eco-Shark Barrier that uses 2.1m-wide plastic sections suspended from floats anchored to the sea floor.

Commercial barrier developer Craig Moss briefed Cottesloe Council on a cheaper version of the concept last month.

Mr Barnett indicated barriers exposed to waves and weed could struggle for Government support.

‘A protected, calm beach is needed to have that in place,’ Mr Barnett said, after describing a Government-funded barrier at sheltered Dunsborough as ‘very impressive’.

Mr Moss, who briefed Geraldton council on his barrier last Friday, rejected the claim that he and Cockburn Council pulled out from Government funding, saying his application for support had been refused.

‘Why would I pull out, and mortgage my home for $750,000, when we wanted to get into Coogee?’ he said. A plan to lease the barrier back to Cockburn still faced the hurdle of the council getting a Government contribution.

‘As for beach conditions, this barrier would survive waves because it bends, and without it being secured to structure like the old Cottesloe Pylon, it can move to cope with the waves,’ Mr Moss said.

A Department of Premier and Cabinet spokesman said the Dunsborough and Coogee barrier were part of a review of shark attack mitigation, including updating $1.9 million in grants for ‘personal and public shark deterrents’.

Cannington MLA Bill Johnston asked Mr Barnett six times in Parliament where the State Budget listed the cost of the shark cull trial until April.

Mr Barnett eventually said ‘a little over $1 million’ was spent on catching sharks.

See Opinion, page 10