The public is urged to discuss a government paper proposing that rock fishers wear life jackets.
The public is urged to discuss a government paper proposing that rock fishers wear life jackets.

Lifejackets to stop rock fisher drownings

THE NSW Government has released a public discussion paper proposing whether rock fishers should be forced to wear lifejackets as a means to reduce drownings.

It comes after a Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report found 11% of the 105 people who drowned in NSW in 2011-12 were rock fishing.

Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser said the State Government needed to respond to high drowning rates.

"Addressing all the risk factors for drowning is a key aspect of water safety in NSW," Mr Fraser said.

"The Government is now inviting submissions from rock fishers and other interested parties on the wearing of lifejackets by rock fishers.

"The questions raised in this paper are intended to stimulate discussion and is not a proposed course of action by the Government.

"The discussion paper does not deal with the wearing of lifejackets while boating or fishing from a vessel, or while undertaking other recreational water activities.

"All options to keep rock fishers safe will be considered by the Water Safety Advisory Council," Mr Fraser said.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Michael Gallacher said every drowning and rescue operation that occurs also puts emergency service workers at risk, so the Government's focus is about finding better solutions to stop tragedies from occurring.

"Since 2011, this Government has rolled out $4 million in 'black spot' funding to 11 organisations which have a focus on reducing the rate of drowning deaths in NSW. A further $4 million has also been earmarked for additional 'black spot' funding over the next two years," Mr Gallacher said.

He said the Government had allocated $320,000 to the Recreational Fishing Alliance to fund projects including rock fishing safety workshops.



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