Young not too keen on rebate

Sarah IsonBusselton Dunsborough Times

Rebates for shark deterrents have not won over young people, with under-25s less than 7 per cent of applicants for the State Government-sponsored scheme.

WA Greens’ marine spokeswoman Diane Evers said claims for the Shark Shield Freedom $200 rebate were surprisingly low from young people, who typically had high-level participation in ocean sports.

“One explanation may be that the rebate is only currently approved for purchases of the Shark Shield Freedom, which is marketed for use by divers, spearfishers and kayakers, but not for surfing,” she said.

“Another reason could be that even with the rebate, the device is too expensive for people on low incomes — in which case, I’d be interested in exploring whether deterrents could be made available on a low-cost hire or borrow basis.”

Ms Evers also said she was surprised by the low uptake for the rebate in the Margaret River region, with results showing just 10 applicants from Margaret River, Yallingup and Dunsborough and a further seven from Busselton.

The rebate was much more popular in the metropolitan area, Bunbury and Geraldton.

Ms Evers said part of the reason for the region’s low rebate uptake might be the prominent surf culture.

Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly told the Times the community response to the rebate had been strong thus far.

“The McGowan Government is very pleased with the community’s response to the world-first trial shark-deterrent subsidy,” he said.

“More than 750 people have taken part and there is a good proportion of younger people who have claimed the subsidy, with almost 30 per cent aged under 34.”

Mr Kelly said a review of the program would take place as the rebate approached 1000, at which a decision would be made whether to extend the scheme.

The Government was previously criticised for putting the rebate at the centre of its rejigged shark-deterrent policy.

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