Council decided to defer further discussions regarding opting out of the Rock Fishing Safety initiative program at the council meeting yesterday.
The recommendation put to council would see Kempsey Shire Council opt out of the initiative program and would not have the Kempsey Shire coastline declared an area where life jackets are mandatory in accordance with the Rock Fishing Safety Act 2016.
Although the decision was deferred, councillors did engage in discussion over the recommendation in the meeting.
Councillor Sue McGinn spoke for the recommendation and said the safety of rock fishermen should not be policed by council.
"We highly recommend they wear life jackets but council should not have to enforce it," she said.
"It's not that we don't support it, we don't have the resources to police it."
The NSW Government has given NSW councils the option to opt in to the Rock Fishing Safety Act 2016, a decision many councils across the state have chosen.
The Act permits the NSW Police Force (lead role), the Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Local Council Officers to enforce the life jacket requirement of the Act.
Councillor Leo Hauville spoke against the recommendation at the meeting and said council should take some of the responsibility in policing the safety of rock fishermen.
"Other councils haven't taken this on, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't," he said.
"It would be a statement to the community that we believe in safety."
The decision of whether Kempsey Shire Council will opt out of the Rock Fishing Safety Act has been deferred to a future council meeting.
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