QUEENSLAND will strengthen its crocodile management plan in an effort to minimise the risk to residents and tourists at beaches, boat ramps and freshwater creeks in the state’s north.
The Environment Minister Steven Miles made the announcement after meeting with Mayors from Far North Queensland (FNQ) in Cairns.
He said the meeting was very productive with broad agreement on measures that the Environment Department could implement very quickly.
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“We have always said we will work closely with councils on managing crocodiles,” Mr Miles said.
“Whilst we consulted with local governments during the drafting of our Crocodile Management Plan we’ve been clear that it is flexible and we are open to considering any reasonable changes that councils might come to need.
“Croc catchers will focus extra effort in the Cassowary Coast, and will work with the Council to encourage the community to report more croc sightings.
“We will review the maps and upgrade zoning for certain areas in the Douglas Shire Council.
“And we have committed to declaring Two Mile Creek in Mareeba is not salt water crocodile habitat and all crocodiles there will be targeted for removal.
“We’ve also committed to improving our communications with all the councils so that they have a better understanding of the work our officers are doing in their communities.”
Mr Miles also said he had asked EHP to review the management response in Zone D.
“This is on top of our current, very strong Crocodile Management Plan which already has a stronger crocodile removal policy than any previous government has had,” he said.
“Targeted crocodile operations have more than doubled under this Government.
“We have invested in more permanent, specially trained wildlife officers on the ground – an extra 10 officers in north Queensland and two more in central Queensland.
“We have also provided $5.8 million over three years for crocodile management, including a comprehensive study of their populations and movements.”
Cassowary Coast Mayor John Kremastos said he was pleased with the outcomes of the meeting.
“We’ve had some positive outcomes here,” Mr Kremastos said. “We’re advocating for stronger implementation of the current crocodile plan in our council area, especially in making high population areas safer.”
“We have committed to working with the State Government to achieve this.”
Douglas Shire Council Mayor Julia Leu said her council would work with the State Government to strengthen the crocodile management plan without a cull.
“I am certainly not advocating a cull as we wish to preserve them in appropriate locations including the Daintree River,” Ms Leu said.
“However, we do want a tougher management plan to minimise the increasing risk to residents and tourists on our beaches, boat ramps and freshwater creeks.
“I’m very pleased that the Environment Department has agreed in principle to upgrade the zoning in some areas of Douglas Shire and we’ll be finalising the details in the next few weeks.”
Mareeba Shire Council Mayor Tom Gilmore said he was pleased the Environment Department would act quickly to address his concerns.
“It was a very productive meeting and I’m glad we’re moving towards a satisfactory resolution of the issue of crocodiles in Two Mile Creek,” Mr Gilmore said.