Thursday, May 30, 2024

Wollongong casts bid for rock fishing platforms to be deemed ‘high-risk’

Wollongong City Council will write to the Minister for Local Government to request that the city’s rock fishing platforms be declared “high-risk” in a bid to improve safety conditions for fishers.

The declaration would make life jackets mandatory for rock fishers using the platforms.

“I think most people in our community understand and appreciate that rock fishing is a high-risk recreational activity,’’ said Wollongong Lord Mayor, Gordon Bradbery AM.

“Council has been working for some time with key agencies a collaborative approach to managing this challenge, with a focus on awareness-raising and education.

“But the fact remains that since January 2021, six people have died off Honeycomb Rocks at Port Kembla. We need to do more to support those in our community, as well as visitors, to fish safely, and to care for the first responders who are called to the site.’’

He said Council will write to Minister Wendy Tuckerman to seek a declaration under the Rock Fishing Safety Act 2016 for the Wollongong Local Government Area.

The move follows a series of actions by Council including two multilingual danger signs at Hill 60 in Port Kembla, and the development of safety video content that is available on Council’s website and regularly shared through social media.

This is in addition to rock fishing safety workshops at key locations including Port Kembla which have been delivered in collaboration with other stakeholders including Surf Life Saving NSW and NSW Police to build awareness of the risks associated with rock fishing.

While Wollongong’s rock platforms are yet to be formally declared high risk, rock fishers are encouraged to understand the sea conditions, and to wear life jackets and appropriate clothing while fishing.

“We don’t want to stop people rock fishing this is not our intention,’’ Lord Mayor Bradbery said.

“What we do want to do is make sure that rock fishers are able to go home to their families and loved ones. That’s why we ask people to do the right thing, be safe and know the conditions before you head out,” he said.

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