Roundtable held in response to shark attacks
A ROUNDTABLE was held today at Airlie Beach in response to three separate shark attacks in recent weeks at Cid Harbour.
The most recent attack, claimed the life of Melbourne doctor Dan Christidis on Monday.
The death reignited discussion over shark mitigation measures, with the Queensland Government summoning a round table of shark experts, local tourism operators and the Whitsunday Regional Council to discuss the best way forward.
Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox facilitated the round table meeting, and said the purpose of the meeting was to work together to find a solution.
"We have a high profile group of representatives and government agencies, this is about working together to try and work towards a solution for the issue at hand,” Mr Willcox said.
"Everyone around this table has one thing in common and that is to make the Whitsundays the number one tourist destination in the world. Let's start with that as a premise and then work our way through that.”
Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development Kate Jones agreed with Cr Willcox, saying the Whitsundays are the jewel in the crown when it came to Queensland tourism.
"Today's meeting is a consequence of the conversations I've had with the mayor, Tourism Whitsundays and the tourism industry, to say we really want an opportunity as an industry sit down with the marine experts to have a discussion about what are the best steps we can take moving forward,” Ms Jones said.
"We need to work together to make sure we are taking those steps, together- collaboratively and we are taking the best advice.
"I'm looking forward to having robust conversations where we can really come to agreement about what steps we need to take to ensure we get those messages right.”
State Fisheries Minister Mark Furner thanked locals for being present and said he was listening to what they had to say.
"Today as a hallmark of the Palaszczuk Government we are listening to you and will act on the issues you raise with us,' he said.
Queensland Tourism Industry chief executive officer Daniel Gschwind said visitor safety and welfare were at the forefront of discussions.
"Visitor safety and the welfare of our guests here in Queensland is the foremost concern of every tourism operator in our state and when something goes wrong, it affects the operators profoundly, the staff profoundly it is what we're focussed on, we want people to here and have a great time in the Whitsundays,” he said.
"We want to apply the best knowledge we have, the best science we have to have that response to any threat.”