WHERE’S WALLY TOO RISKY FOR IS­LAND TO CITY EVENT

Croc fear puts end to swim

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

GOV­ERN­MENT rep­re­sen­ta­tives and com­mu­nity lead­ers will meet in Townsville to­day to dis­cuss ways to help tackle do­mes­tic and fam­ily vi­o­lence against peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties.

Dis­abil­ity Ser­vices Min­is­ter Co­ralee O’Rourke will host the ses­sion, one of sev­eral across the state de­signed to dis­cuss lo­cal re­sponses to the is­sue.

“Sadly, do­mes­tic and fam­ily vi­o­lence can reach all corners of the com­mu­nity, and peo­ple with dis­abil­ity are some of our most vul­ner­a­ble Queens­lan­ders,” Mrs O’Rourke said.

“There are par­tic­u­lar is­sues for peo­ple with a dis­abil­ity in re­la­tion to do­mes­tic and fam­ily vi­o­lence and we need to make sure that we have the sup­port in place to … pro­tect those who have ex­pe­ri­enced it.

“This round­table gives us the chance to bring to­gether com­mu­nity lead­ers from the dis­abil­ity sec­tor to dis­cuss how we can work to­gether on lo­cal so­lu­tions to elim­i­nate this prob­lem.

“Com­mu­nity sup­port is vi­tal, be­cause only through ac­tion from the whole com­mu­nity can we hope to elim­i­nate this ter­ri­ble prob­lem.”

Mrs O’Rourke said the ses­sion fol­lowed an an­nounce­ment this week that the State Gov­ern­ment would spend $ 31.3 mil­lion on ini­tia­tives to tackle do­mes­tic and fam­ily vi­o­lence.

Open Wa­ter Swim or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee pres­i­dent John Bar­rett said reg­is­tered com­peti­tors were told yesterday morn­ing via email the event was can­celled.

“We think that un­der the cir­cum­stances we must put the safety of swim­mers, pad­dlers and sup­port crew first,” Mr Bar­rett said.

“We thought that there were not suf­fi­cient safety mea­sures avail­able to mit­i­gate the risk of a ‘ neg­a­tive in­ter­ac­tion’ with a crocodile.

“We also thought that or­gan­is­ing an al­ter­na­tive event was not fea­si­ble.”

Mr Bar­rett said he wanted to give com­peti­tors, par­tic­u­larly those trav­el­ling from in­ter­state, as much no­tice as pos­si­ble to can­cel flights and ac­com­mo­da­tion. He said some fees would be re­funded or rolled over to next year.

A Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Her­itage Pro­tec­tion spokes­woman said wildlife of­fi­cers were not aware of a re­ported sight­ing. The last recog­nised sight­ing was at the Townsville ma­rina on June 7.

Pic­ture: FIONA HARD­ING

DIS­AP­POINT­MENT: Claire Dowl­ing, 13, was go­ing to do the swim as part of a duo.

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