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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Minister for Racing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs
    The Honourable Grace Grace

    Recreational diving and snorkelling code of practice to be updated

    Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Minister for Racing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs
    The Honourable Grace Grace

    Thursday, February 23, 2017

    Recreational diving and snorkelling code of practice to be updated

    Queensland’s recreational diving and snorkelling code of practice will be updated by July, Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace has announced following a Reef Safety Roundtable in Cairns yesterday.

    Ms Grace said specific Working Groups to be established in March would oversee a series of improvements to the snorkelling and diving parts of the industry code.

    “The Working Groups will take a close look at snorkelling and diving safety with a view to updating the code by July,” Ms Grace said.

    “We know that Queensland’s existing snorkelling and diving laws are already the strongest in Australia, and possibly the world.

    “But the recent tragic events we’ve seen on the reef show that the code needs to be updated – that was the clear consensus of the Roundtable.”

    Ms Grace said the Working Groups would include marine tourism operators, Surf Life Saving Queensland, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) experts and other stakeholders, and would consider:

    • medical declarations for at risk snorkellers prior to them entering the water;
    • automatic external defibrillators on reef tourist vessels;
    • ensuring the use of floatation devices for at risk snorkellers; and
    • requiring at risk snorkellers to wear a different coloured vest or snorkel for easy visual identification.

     “These sensible and practicable measures aim to ensure all visitors return home to their loved ones safely after enjoying their time on the reef,” she said.

    “Another key outcome from the Roundtable is that family of the deceased will be notified of the cause of death within 24 hours, once the cause of death is known.

    “Industry stakeholders including WHSQ and tourism operators will be notified of the cause of death within 48 hours, and 24-36 hours after this, the information will be publicly released.

    “This is a big step forward and I want to thank Northern Coroner Magistrate Kevin Priestly for his contribution in this regard.”

    Ms Grace said also resulting from the Roundtable, an expert panel would be established to assist the Coroner to analyse any snorkelling or diving deaths on the reef on a case-by-case basis.

    “The Great Barrier Reef is Queensland’s number one tourist attraction, drawing millions of visitors a year,” Ms Grace said.

    “It’s a great natural wonder, and a prime economic and tourism asset.

    “I want to thank all Roundtable participants for their contribution and I’ll continue to work with stakeholders to improve safety on the reef.”

    Media Contact: Martin Philip 0427 919 548