Tweed Shire Councillor Reece Byrnes with a drone camera unit at Kingscliff. Photo: Scott Powick, News Corp
Tweed Shire Councillor Reece Byrnes with a drone camera unit at Kingscliff. Photo: Scott Powick, News Corp

What council’s shark drone vote means for our surf clubs

TWEED Coast surf life saving clubs will now all be able to equip themselves with shark spotting drones thanks to a council motion.

The allocation of $20,000 for the purchase of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to local surf clubs comes after only two drones for the shire's four surf clubs were covered by recent State Government shark mitigation funding.

Drones have been topical for the region in the wake of a fatal shark attack off the Kingscliff coastline on June 7.

Just seven days after a three-year shark mitigation drone trial ended on the Tweed Coast, Tugun man Rob Pedretti, 60, was killed by a great white shark while out surfing.

Two shark drones have been funded by the NSW Government for the next 12 months to be hosted at Cabarita and South Kingscliff/Cudgen as part of a new $8 million strategy to protect beachgoers.

Councillor Reece Brynes has been vocal in his belief the Tweed had missed out on its fair share, prompting his motion to Tweed Shire Council.

<<READ MORE:Shark attack death shows 'urgent' need for drones>>

The council vote was unanimous to allocate $20,000 sponsorship from the Tweed Holiday Parks 2020/2021 budget to local surf clubs at last Thursday's Tweed Shire Council meeting.

The money will be given through SLS NSW to those clubs not covered by the recent State Government Shark Mitigation Program for UAVs.

The motion was put forward by councillor Reece Brynes, seconded by Cr James Owen, and includes another sponsorship allocation for an additional $20,000 to be divided equally between all four clubs for recruiting volunteers, additional emergency response equipment and maintenance of assets.

This cash will also be allocated from the Tweed Holiday Parks 2020/2021 budget and will be put forward in the September Quarterly Budget Review.

The motion also includes reviving the Tweed Beach Safety Liaison Committee.

Cr Byrnes said after the tragic shark attack is was apparent our beaches and the public needed more protection on the water.

It is expected the funds will be available to be applied for by the surf clubs by the summer season.