Costigan gets cold shoulder from roundtable
MEMBER for Whitsunday Jason Costigan confirmed he was frozen out of Friday's roundtable event held in response to the Cid Harbour shark attacks.
Mr Costigan and shadow minister for Tourism David Crisafulli displayed a sign highlighting Queensland's Shark Control Program (SCP) as state government officials, tourism operators, shark experts and Whitsunday Regional Council met at Abell Point Marina.
"Despite attempts made by David Crisafulli to the Tourism Minister Kate Jones, I was not wanted,” he said.
"There is no love lost between Kate and I, and because my opinion differs from hers I think they wanted to land on a pre-determined, unanimous decision today.
"I wasn't the only one not there. Were there any commercial fisherman, who tell me there are sharks in plague proportions, in there.”
Asked for his view on the five-point plan floated as a result of the roundtable, held four days after the death of Melbourne doctor Dan Christidis, Mr Costigan did not pull any punches.
"The five-point plan they've come up with today should be used as toilet paper because that's what it is worth,” he said.
He again called for the SCP, which has been in place throughout the state since its introduction in the 1960s, as he did following September's attacks on Tasmanian woman Justine Barwick and Melbourne schoolgirl Hannah Papps.
"It makes no sense that a program in place when we had pounds and pence, that has been supported by both sides of the political divide, does not cover the Whitsundays,” he said.
"We need more blood in the water like a hole in the head.
"I was in Victoria for Melbourne Cup Day and the death of the Melbourne doctor in the Whitsundays dominated the media attention - Channel 9 news with Hitch (Peter Hitchener), the Neil Mitchell Show on Melbourne's top-rating radio station 3AW, the Herald-Sun, The Age - it has made headlines far and wide.
"We need to restore confidence in the Whitsundays and I'd be the first to shake Kate Jones' hand if she introduced the Shark Control Program here.
"If Kate doesn't think the Whitsundays should be part of the Shark Control Program, how about she tell the world that she will pull them out in Cairns, Townsville and all the other places along the Queensland coast.”
Mr Costigan was aware his position on the SCP, which relies on drum lines and nets, had attracted much criticism from constituents online, but issued this message.
"I'd rather lose my job saying what I believe is the right thing rather than just going with the flow and someone else dying because we haven't got shark protection measures in place here,” he said.
Speaking after the roundtable wrapped up, Ms Jones slammed the LNP for its approach on this issue.
"The LNP have played politics with this from day one,” she said.
"Someone has died, there are businesses here that are doing it tough. I would much rather sit on the side of science than yelling and screaming from the sideline, so I call on the LNP to have one position and to hold your position for more than 24 hours.
"It's time for the LNP to put up or shut up and right now all they're doing is making noise.”