Zammataro says Zone 2 croc management needed
IT’S NOW BEEN A YEAR SINCE THE 2016 QUEENSLAND LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS. OVER THE NEXT FEW WEEKS, GAZETTE REPORTER SCOTT TIBBALLS WILL SIT DOWN WITH EACH DOUGLAS SHIRE COUNCILLOR TO TALK ABOUT THE LAST 12 MONTHS IN OFFICE – AND ANYTHING ELSE THEY’D LIKE
The first-term councillor (and candidate) roared into first place in the ballot box last year, earning 2928 votes.
“To win like that is really overwhelming – it gives you the sense that people respect your opinion and they want you on council because they respect what you say,” said Roy.
It was his first run at being a councillor, and he said it was just “another way to give back to the community”.
On the current state of the council, Roy had nothing but praise. “It’s a really exciting time to be in council. Third year in from de-amalgamation, everything is starting to fall together. The plan is for the council to be in surplus by 2020, and we’re heading in the right direction.
“What we’ve got now – we have a council that are positive about the future of the shire and the way it’s heading.”
According to Roy each councillor brings something different to the council – and through them and the council staff he was learning quickly.
There’s plenty to learn about. In the 12 months since the election the Douglas Shire Council has had plenty of pots on the boil, and plenty of issues to cover, including crocs.
In August Roy was on the losing side of a council vote to introduce a more proactive crocodile management approach in popular swimming areas in rivers around Mossman. “I think if that went to the vote again there may be a different outcome. I’m speculating a little here but since we had that vote a lot more issues that have come up, in particular the tourist industry suffering, and even more particularly locals.”
Roy explained that as a lifelong local, times had changed and something had to be done about the croc threat.
“They never used to come near people before.
“They were well aware that they shouldn’t come near people, but they’ve been allowed to evolve into what they do now – they’re not scared of humans anymore.
“I don’t think, I know we need to introduce Zone 2 up here so anything over two metres is removed. Especially from the beaches, and particularly boat ramps. I think they need to be gone.”
Member for Cook Billy Gordon and the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection’s advice not to swim in the water just doesn’t cut it, said Roy.
“People come to Four Mile Beach to swim. Anything that’s detrimental to the tourist industry has to be addressed.
“Even more importantly, tourists are here for a few months of the year, they’re our bread and butter – but locals use the water for 12 months of the year. And it’s the locals that are really starting to complain, and I’m not talking about locals that have turned up last week I’m talking about people that have been here all their lives.
“What the department says – if they remove a croc another one will replace it, well, it may eventually – but you remove that as well.”
Crocs were well aware that they shouldn’t come near people, but they’ve been allowed to evolve into what they do now – they’re not scared of humans anymore.
Douglas Shire Councillor Roy Zammataro, pictured near the Newell Beach Boatramp, where he used to swim as a child