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State Member for Hill Shane Knuth has questioned the government on why the population survey into crocodile numbers in North Queensland has not yet been released to the public.
In a ministerial media statement by the previous Minister for Environment on June 1, 2016, it was announced $5.8million would be allocated over three years for crocodile management, including a comprehensive monitoring program to study crocodile populations, and guaranteeing the jobs of wildlife officers.
In the statement, the then Minister went on to say the funding commitment would allow the Queensland Government to conduct a comprehensive crocodile population survey – covering rivers and estuaries from Cape York to Gladstone for at least three years – as part of its crocodile management review.”
Nearly 5 years later the population survey is yet to be released, prompting Mr Knuth to ask the question on the floor of parliament, to the current Minister for Environment, how the funding had been spent and where was the report?
In a less than confident response the Minister stated;
“We will also be releasing that report, ideally this year, as well. I have not had an opportunity to read the full contents of that report yet myself, but I am more than happy to make sure that that is released this year.”
Mr Knuth said it was a display of “lip service” to the North Queensland public over the issue.
“The state government were patting themselves on the back with the funding commitment five years ago which was supposed to be delivered over three years,” he said.
“It’s five years on now and I haven’t seen any evidence the $5.8million has made any difference to the problem, employed more rangers, or produced any survey on the crocodile population.
“Either the government hoped the issue would go away after the announcement and the report has not been done, or the report shows what we all know – that crocodile populations have drastically increased, and they are pushing more and more into populated swimming areas in North Queensland.”
Mr Knuth said that all North Queenslanders want is for crocodile populations to be properly managed to mitigate the risk on human life and to safeguard the norths tourism industry.
“No-one wants to see the large-scale unregulated killing that occurred back in the 70’s, but we do want changes, such as the establishment of a Queensland Crocodile Authority based in North Queensland to self-manage the problem, significantly more money spent on indigenous rangers, egg harvesting programs and a no tolerance policy on removing crocodiles from populated waterways,” he said.
“If the state government believes their crocodile management strategy is working, then release the survey to the public so we can see the results.”
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