Katter’s croc cull plan will ‘increase’ attacks
The State Labor Government has taken a bite out of a proposal by Katter's Australian Party to cull saltwater crocodiles in Queensland, saying it would only lead to an increase in attacks.
"It is concerning that there are some people out there calling for a cull of crocodiles," Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch told the Herbert River Express this morning.
"The fact is that a cull is not a solution to the risks posed by crocodiles. It would give the public a false sense of safety, leading to complacency and an increased risk of attacks.
"It does not matter how many crocodiles are removed, no waterway in crocodile country can ever be considered to be crocodile free."
A total of 40 saltwater crocodiles, also known as estuarine crocodiles, have been removed from Queensland waters so far this year, including eight in the North Queensland region that includes Townsville and Ingham.
The Department of Environment has so far failed to remove a crocodile known to reside in a waterway about 200 metres from Ingham State High School.
Ms Enoch said the Palaszczuk Government was "striking the right balance between ensuring public safety as the main priority, while also supporting the conservation of estuarine crocodile populations in the wild".
"Any crocodiles that pose a high risk to public safety are removed, regardless of length, under the Queensland Crocodile Management Plan," she said.
"And these figures are proof that the government takes this very seriously."
She said crocodiles were listed as a vulnerable species under Queensland's Nature Conservation Act 1992, and were also protected nationally under Commonwealth legislation and internationally.
"In Queensland, estuarine crocodiles have been protected since 1974, when they were hunted to the brink of extinction, and their populations are still recovering," she said.
"The Palaszczuk Government has allocated $6 million in this year's Budget over two years for improved crocodile management across all Queensland crocodile habitat areas."
She said in 2016-17, the State Government allocated $5.8 million over three years to improve crocodile management in Queensland, including an ongoing three-year crocodile monitoring program.
"However, preliminary data from the monitoring program indicates an average density of around one crocodile per kilometre, which is significantly less than average densities in the Northern Territory, where there are between five and ten crocodiles per kilometre."
Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto has been contacted for comment.