Australia Day 2018 was blistering on the Sunshine Coast with many thousands taking refuge at popular beaches and waterways. However, Golden Beach resident Lyn Gahan said the busy public holiday was the catalyst for her petition urging the State Government to put more police on the water.
“It was a beautiful Australia Day and naturally our beaches and waterways were full of locals and tourists, but there was absolutely no presence of Water Police around Caloundra or Bribie Island,” Mrs Gahan said.
“I have lived in Caloundra for 36 years and in that time I have witnessed so much growth but it is nothing compared to the growth we are about to experience. For this reason I am petitioning the Queensland Government to increase officer numbers of the Sunshine Coast District Water Police immediately.
“We have just four Water Police Officers for the whole of the Sunshine Coast District which encompasses Tin Can Bay to north of Redcliffe and out to Somerset Dam. The teams, made up of two officers each, are generally kept busy in Noosa and Maroochydore. That leaves no one to service this very busy end of the Coast.
“Only Queensland Police Services have the jurisdiction over water, speed and drink driving. Without officers, offenders have no sense of consequence and Caloundra’s residents are essentially at a greater risk each time they get on the water.”
State Member for Caloundra Mark McArdle today said he strongly supports Mrs Gahan’s petition, emphasising that traffic on Caloundra’s waterway was set to boom with the Aura Development.
“Recreational water usage is increasing across the Coast but with more than 50,000 people expected to move into Aura it would be foolish to dismiss Caloundra and the Passage because their popularity as outdoor destinations will only increase,” Mr McArdle said.
“The Gold Coast has a 14 officers to manage their waterways. While I am aware that the Sunshine Coast does not have the population of the Gold Coast, we have certainly grown well beyond the four officers we currently have.
“Excessive speeds from just one motorised vehicle can cause erosion on the banks of Bribie Island as well as disrupting everyone else in the water such as swimmers, stand up paddle boarders, kayakers and fishing boats.
“In addition to sponsoring Lyn’s petition, I am asking the Caloundra community to help make our waterways safer by ‘dobbing in a Pumicestone Passage Idiot.’ If you have photos or videos of a motorised vehicle operator behaving like an idiot please visit my website and complete a form to dob them in*.”
The petition can be signed at Mr McArdle’s Electorate Office 1/20 Ormuz Ave, Caloundra or by visiting: https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-assembly/petitions/current-epetitions
*Members of the public can ‘Dob in a Pumicestone Passage Idiot’ by visiting https://www.markmcardlemp.com/dob-in-a-pumicestone-passage-idiot or notify the police, BUT if a life-threatening emergency or serious crime occurs, please always contact 000.