Labor prefers southern votes to croc protection for Far Northerners
KAP State Member for Hill Shane Knuth has again called for the State Government to ‘get real’ on crocodile management following the release of the 2017 Queensland Crocodile Management Update.
“Today’s announcement reaffirms there is a croc issue in North Queensland,’’ Mr Knuth said.
“The Government is reluctant to make the tough decisions because keeping southern votes is more important to them than protecting the life and livelihood of North Queenslanders.”
The Government’s update showed a spike in the number of crocodile sightings, jumping to 684 in 2017 compared to 378 in 2016 and just 176 in 2010.
“This is triple the sightings reported from seven years ago and an 80% increase in sightings from 2016,’’ he said.
“Those are extraordinary numbers and any sane person would argue it represents a large increase in crocodile numbers. Most people I speak to in the region tell me they don’t even bother reporting sightings anymore as nothing gets done, so that increase is only the tip of the iceberg.’’
Mr Knuth said most North Queenslanders were sick and tired of the glossy, political speak from the Government and Minister Enoch’s assertion ‘the Government is confident that Queensland’s approach to crocodile management is sound.’
“Obviously the reality is the exact opposite,” Mr Knuth said.
“When we have tourism bodies such as TTNQ and TPDD warning of the effects on the tourism industry because of increased activity of crocodiles and the Government’s own report showing staggering increases in sightings, it begs the question – why isn’t the Government acting?”
He said the provision of funding for drones to Surf Life Saving Queensland was a welcome addition to the organisation, but is not the solution to crocodile management or reducing the instances of sightings and beach closures.
“It is great for SLSQ to have access to this technology, but it doesn’t solve the root of the problem,” Mr Knuth said.
“We shouldn’t accept the increasing number of beach closures or beach sightings, as crocs shouldn’t be there in the first place. A zero tolerance policy regarding crocodiles on our beaches and in surrounding waterways, will drastically reduce the threat and allow our life savers to use this technology more effectively in patrolling stretches of beach not normally patrolled.’’