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Community feedback sought on mandatory life jackets for rock fishers

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COMMUNITY feedback is sought on a proposal to force fishers to wear life jackets on rock platforms in the northern suburbs.

The plan would make life jackets mandatory at a number of locations in Wollongong city, including between Coalcliff and Austinmer, Bulli’s Waniora Point, Collins Rocks at Woonona and Bellambi Point.

Community consultation is open until Sunday July 24 2022 through Wollongong City Council’s website.

Seeking comments from the community is the latest step by Council to address concerns about the dangers of rock fishing.

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said mandatory life jackets are part of an ongoing response to address community concerns about rock fishing deaths in the Illawarra.

“We’ve seen six families and their friends and networks devastated by the deaths of loved ones while rock fishing since January last year and we need to find a way to reduce this risk to individuals and to the emergency services who are called into assist when something goes wrong,” Cr Bradbery said.

“Council and a range of other key stakeholders are all in agreement that we need to do more to try and prevent these deaths. Already, Council has installed warning signage at Hill 60, we’ve worked with Surf Life Saving, NSW Maritime Police and other key agencies on educational opportunities, and this community engagement about making life jackets mandatory is another phase to help us have the strongest possible response to this ongoing matter.’’

The focus of the engagement is to seek feedback on a proposal for Council to opt-in to the Rock Fishing Safety Act 2016. This would see targeted locations within the local government area declared as high-risk rock fishing locations and make wearing life jackets mandatory.

“We are well-aware that there is debate in the NSW State Parliament about legislation relating to life jackets and we welcome these broader conversations,” Cr Bradbery said.

“However, it is also important that as a community we have our own views and a clear position on the issue of rock fishing safety.’

To have a say on the proposal visit 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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