Jun 25, 2021


Jun 25, 2021

North Queenslanders are being fed a load of croc by the Palaszczuk Labor Government as it continually refuses to reveal the findings of a detailed crocodile population survey that concluded in 2019.

In 2016 then-Environment minister Steven Miles committed $5.8 million to a three-year crocodile management program that would include a “comprehensive crocodile population survey”.

At the time the Minister said the survey was urgently needed to ascertain whether crocodile numbers were increasing in Queensland.

The funding immediately provided for three additional FTE staff to deliver that program, rising to five staff in 2017/2018.

The report was touted at the time as “the most comprehensive crocodile population survey ever in Queensland”, with data promised to be compared to figures going back as far as 1979.

Despite being completed around two years ago, to date the report has not seen the light of day.

Katter’s Australia Party Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter said he suspected the report was being kept under lock and key.

He said it was undeniable encounters between humans and deadly estuarine saltwater crocodiles were increasing at astronomical rates in North Queensland.

This includes one fatal and two serious attacks in the region earlier this year, as well as reports of the predators moving into private properties in residential areas such as Tully Heads.[1]

“More people will die in North Queensland from crocodile attacks if the Government’s approach to this issue does not change radically,” Mr Katter said. 

“Saltwater crocodiles and human communities do not mix.

“I find it mind-boggling that not wanting your pets, friends and family members eaten by crocs is considered radical these days.”

KAP Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto said the State Government was likely stalling on releasing the report as it would reveal uncomfortable truths.

“I am of the opinion that once the truth comes out, Brisbane will have to accept that crocodiles may no longer be a threatened species,” he said.

“For so long the Government have relied on the conservation narrative as an excuse to failing to act – this report could be the end of that and they need to come clean on the real numbers.”

Queensland Government representatives have previously acknowledged there has been a rapid increase in croc numbers in the North, supporting long-running anecdotal reports from locals who have been encountering the apex predators in places never seen before in their lifetimes.

Mr Katter said the KAP’s Safer Waterway Bill, which has failed to receive support from both major parties in the past, was designed to address the crocodile issues in the North.

This bill, drafted and introduced twice into the parliament by KAP Hill MP Shane Knuth, would seek to centre Queensland’s crocodile management framework to Cairns.

Cairns-based staff would decide on the number of crocs – which posed a safety threat – that should be culled annually (or less often if not necessary) and Indigenous groups would be enabled to host crocodile-hunting tours and allow crocodile eggs to be harvested, as is done successfully in the Northern Territory.