LNP urges ac­tion on croc prob­lem

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Scott Tib­balls

CROC­O­DILES are now a po­lit­i­cal is­sue, with Queens­land op­po­si­tion leader Tim Ni­cholls an­nounc­ing a tougher ap­proach to croc­o­dile man­age­ment in Port Dou­glas.

“It’s about hav­ing a proac­tive re­sponse rather than wait­ing for a tragedy to hap­pen,” Mr Ni­cholls said to a mod­est crowd of Dou­glas lo­cals ast the week­end.

Mr Ni­cholls said the is­sue had ‘per­me­ated’ through Queens­land to such a de­gree it was a com­mon dis­cus­sion point ev­ery­where.

“There’s plenty of peo­ple that have said to me that when the first kid goes (gets eaten), all hell will come rain­ing down and we’ll be ask­ing why didn’t we (do any­thing?)”.

Also speak­ing at the press con­fer­ence, for­mer Mem­ber for Cook, David Kempton said “peo­ple have got to know with con­fi­dence we’re do­ing some­thing pos­i­tive to make them safer,” and that warn­ing signs were not enough.

In­creas­ing ed­u­ca­tion around be­ing croc wise was not sup­ported as the so­lu­tion, with many lo­cals at­tend­ing say­ing more needed to be done to ward croc­o­diles away and con­trol the pop­u­la­tion.

Mr Ni­cholls con­curred. “We’re past the busi­ness of ed­u­ca­tion and stud­ies – we need ac­tion.”

Lo­cal gov­ern­ment was raised as a ma­jor in­flu­ence in chang­ing pol­icy, with Mr Ni­cholls say­ing that the state gov­ern­ment can­not over­rule lo­cal gov­ern­ment pol­icy on croc man­age­ment. “The lo­cal gov­ern­ment has got to get on board and say this is af­fect­ing tourism, this is af­fect­ing jobs.

“The LNP can’t come in and kick down the lo­cal gov­ern­ment.”

The Dou­glas Shire Coun­cil has been tak­ing on a more proac­tive role on deal­ing with croc­o­diles, hav­ing helped or­gan­ise early Novem­bers croc­o­dile man­age­ment meet­ing, and writ­ing to Queens­land En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Dr Steven Miles. Many who at­tended the early Novem­ber meet­ing have since said to the they had lit­tle hope for pos­i­tive change com­ing about as a re­sult, and Min­is­ter Miles has since ruled out more proac­tive man­age­ment pol­icy, in­stead opt­ing for in­creased ed­u­ca­tion and an al­tered croc wise cam­paign.

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