Greens question the EPA's capacity to properly assess shark cull

The Australian Greens today welcomed the Federal Environment Minister's decision that the proposed extension to WA's shark cull is a controlled action and will be subject to environmental assessment, but have raised concerns over the WA EPA's capacity to carry out the process.

"I'm concerned that the State, as the proponents of the cull, are also assessing the proposal. Under the assessment bilateral agreement between WA and the Commonwealth, the WA Government's EPA will carry out the environmental assessment of the proposed extension," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens marine spokesperson said today.

"However, fortunately WA and the Commonwealth haven't yet established an approval bilateral agreement, so the final decision about whether the cull should go ahead remains with Minister Hunt.

"The Minister rightly decided that the proposed extension of WA's failed cull is a controlled action under the EPBC Act. Statistics released today show that 68 sharks have been killed by the cull so far. If this extreme and unwarranted policy is allowed to continue for another three years, the environmental damage will be significant.

"I have serious doubts about the EPA's capacity to independently assess the WA Government's shark cull plan. As we have seen with issues like James Price Point, the EPA failed to carry out a proper assessment.

"The widespread community campaign against the shark cull will keep up the pressure on both the Federal and WA Governments during the assessment process," said Senator Siewert.

"As it was Minister Hunt's hasty exemption which gave the Barnett Government the green light to conduct this senseless and expensive shark kill, the least he can do is ensure a comprehensive assessment," Greens WA State MP Lynn MacLaren said today.

"Western Australians oppose the drum lines for good reason. It's time the federal government rejected these drum lines after a thorough assessment," Ms MacLaren concluded.