It is high time we took the decision out of the hands of rock fishers about wearing life jackets.
At the moment the mandatory wearing of lifejackets is an "opt-in" situation for councils under the Rock Fishing Safety Act and the Wollongong City Council has not opted in as yet.
Under the act council rangers, police, NSW Fisheries rangers and National Parks and Wildlife staff are responsible for enforcing the life jacket rule.
Read more: What can be done about safety at Hill 60?
After yet another tragedy at Hill 60 on Friday night, Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said the council was not looking to opt-in and said responsibility for the issue should lie with the NSW government. It is believed the NSW government is considering making the wearing of life jackets for rock fishers mandatory.
And they should because it is quite clear too many are taking unnecessary risks and in doing so they are endangering the lives of others who are called to save theirs. Since the beginning of the year, seven people have lost their lives rock fishing in NSW - five of them at Hill 60 in Port Kembla alone.
Wollongong's deputy mayor Tania Brown was calling for a reassessment of Wollongong's approach.
"Given the tragic further loss of life at Hill 60 I am calling on Wollongong City Council to undertake a Rock Platform Safety Review, and work with State agencies on how we can improve safety for rock fisherman and our emergency services who are risking their lives in rescue operations," Cr Brown said.
This should be a given, but doesn't it make more sense for the NSW government to simply take the lead on this matter?
When we can no longer trust people to make the smart decision, as much as that might be "penalising" the majority who do the right thing, we have no choice but to act.
And besides, isn't wearing a life jacket when rock fishing the smart thing to do anyway?
Surely the answer to that question is "yes" and if that's the case, let's just write it in law and move on. Otherwise we will continue to put the lives of others at risk.
It's a decision between life and death. Let's chose life.
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