The Australian Greens have today announced they will introduce a private members bill in the Senate to end WA's shark cull.
"Our Bill ends the exemption to the EPBC Act that has allowed Colin Barnett's cruel cull to go ahead. It will also prevent the Federal Environment Minister from granting any future exemptions to the Act for the purposes of using drum lines to catch sharks," Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said today.
"Exempting the shark cull sets a very dangerous precedent. Past exemptions have only been granted for the purposes of defence, security or a national emergencies, like bushfires or floods, but not for the active culling or killing of a vulnerable species.
"By rubber-stamping Colin Barnett's shark cull, Tony Abbott and his government have shown yet again that they just don't care about our unique environment or any form of proper environmental protection.
"The Greens are taking action to provide a guarantee that federal legislation cannot be misused in this way again," said Senator Milne.
"This cull was a PR measure right from the start, rather than a response to any threat or safety," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens marine spokesperson said today.
"The Minister's justification that the cull is in the ‘national interest', is undermined by the fact that the season for great whites is September to December. They knew the chances of catching these sharks was low, and that other species would be caught.
"There's no doubt the people of WA have lost faith in the Premier and the Federal Government over the way this cull has been handled.
"A survey commissioned by the Greens has found a total of 57% of respondents support the Federal Minister using his powers to end the cull. 38% of people in the survey strongly agreed with this idea. In a sign this issue crosses party lines, support for this approach is above 60% amongst Labor and National voters, as well as voters in regional WA.
"This result comes as no surprise. Western Australians love their marine life and are appalled by the large number of sharks that are being caught. We know that this policy is having a serious impact on our state's marine life.
"The Greens will continue to hold the state and federal government to account for this cruel and unnecessary cull. We will work to have this Bill debated as soon as possible," Senator Siewert concluded.