Member for Swansea, Yasmin Catley has condemned the NSW Government’s lacklustre approach to legislating for the mandatory wearing of life jackets for rock fishers.

“This Government is passing the buck back to councils to avoid actually making a call,” Ms Catley said today in NSW Parliament.

“Following a trial in the Randwick Local Government Area, the legislation proposed by the Government would allow for local councils to opt in to the legislation for mandatory life jackets from June 1, 2018.

“Since the trial commenced, a further eight rock fishing deaths were recorded in NSW, including one at Snapper Point and one at Susan Gilmore Beach in Newcastle.

“The three kilometre stretch of coastline, called Snapper Point, has previously been identified as the most deadliest stretch of coastline in NSW for rock fishing deaths, with 16 deaths in eight years. However, it was excluded from the trial.”

Ms Catley is calling on the Government to roll out mandatory life jackets for rock fishers across the State, to ensure consistency in all local government areas.

“This is in line with the recommendation from a 2015 coronial inquiry into rock fishing deaths, and is supported by the NSW Water Safety Advisory Council.

“The most recent coronial inquiry had found that safety advice and education had made no difference to the numbers of people who were dying while rock fishing.

“This is another example of the NSW Government tip toeing around an issue rather than making a decision to do the right thing.

“First we had a trial, then we had an extension of the trial, and now we have the Government saying Councils can choose whether or not they want the legislation to apply.

“Safety is a matter for everyone, no matter where you are on the NSW coast,” Ms Catley said.