Rock fishos required to wear lifejackets between Coalcliff and Austinmer, and Bulli’s Waniora and Bellambi Points under ‘high-risk’ plan

Picture: Magda Ehlers

COMMUNITY feedback is sought on a plan to have areas between Coalcliff and Austinmer, Bulli’s Waniora Point and Bellambi Point declared high-risk for rock fishing, following a resolution of Wollongong City Council.

Wollongong councillors have resolved to seek stakeholder and community feedback on a proposal to ‘opt-in’ to the Rock Fishing Safety Act 2016.

By opting-in, areas across the city would be declared as high-risk and fishers would be required to wear lifejackets on rock shelfs.

The locations under consideration include the popular and hazardous rock shelves between Coalcliff to Austinmer, Bellambi Point, and Waniora Point at Bulli.

Other locations under consideration are Hill 60, Port Kembla, where six rock fishers have lost their lives since 2021, as well as Flagstaff Hill, Wollongong.

See: Item 2: Rock Fishing Safety Act 2016 Council Report

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said rock fishing is one of Australia’s most high-risk pastimes and the step to seek community and stakeholder feedback a proposal to opt-in to the Act is an important one.

“I know many people have a clear view on whether life jackets should be made mandatory, and I encourage those with opinions to provide their feedback so that we can consider our next steps and how to progress in the interest of rock fishers and their safety,” he said.

Council will also continue its work with other stakeholders, such as rock fishing groups, NSW Police, Surf Life Saving, National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Department of Primary Industry on next steps.

Once the community feedback has been collated, a report will go to Council with the engagement summary.

Community engagement will start in the coming weeks and be available through the Join the Conversation pages on Council’s website.

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About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of Australian pubs and associated industries for over 30 years. He is working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick managed several community newspapers. He has been editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), the Sydney city newspaper, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.


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