Katter’s Australian Party MPs have called out hypocrisy from the LNP over the party’s strong stance on shark control despite refusing to back the KAP’s attempts to reduce the threat posed by crocs in North Queensland.
State KAP Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter said beyond the threat to life, the State Government’s shark and croc control inaction had the region’s tourism sector at the door of a major downturn.
He said it was hypocritical that LNP MPs, including Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington, had jumped to attention on sharks but refused to back the KAP’s Safer Waterways Bill, which is designed to protect human life as well as the region’s tourism industry.
“I respect that the LNP wants to go down a strong path on reducing threats from sharks in the North, but why haven’t they applied the same degree of concern to crocs?” Mr Katter said.
“These predators are not confined to the ocean; they are in our rivers, our creeks and our dams and in some cases, our backyard swimming pools – they are seriously encroaching on our communities.
“The LNP, as well as Labor, showed contempt for North Queenslanders when the Tourism Development and Environment Committee failed to recommended our croc bill to the Parliament.
“This process, we believe, was somewhat tainted by fearmongering and misinformation pedalled largely by LNP MPs.
“We were accused by the LNP of putting forward a “cowboy policy” that would see crocs killed indiscriminately – this is totally false.”
Mr Katter said North Queenslanders were demanding action from their politicians on the proper control of apex predators.
“I hope that the most recent, very tragic shark attack, does not divert attention away from the crocodile problem,” Mr Katter said.
“Based on the latest figures a total of 35 per cent of crocodile attacks have proven fatal, while 8 per cent of shark attacks are fatal.
“In the past three years in Queensland, there have been nine recorded croc attacks in North Queensland, with three fatalities.”
The KAP’s Safer Waterways Bill seeks to establish a Queensland Crocodile Authority to oversee responsible culling of crocodiles and to grow a crocodile industry in the North, worth potentially tens of millions of dollars.
“We want this new authority to unleash the potential of the crocodile industry and turn it into something that Queensland can be proud of,” Mr Katter said.
“Meat and skin production and tourism can all benefit from the establishment of a Queensland Crocodile Authority whilst at the same time, ensuring that wild crocodile numbers are kept in check and rogue crocs are either killed or relocated.”
Mr Katter said that livestock and farm animal crocodile kills were on the increase in the North.
Under the Safer Waterways Bill, farmers would have the right to introduce crocodile management schemes on their own land.
“With summer now here, surf life savers, water ski enthusiasts, divers, rowers and the public in general in North Queensland are very concerned about crocs venturing into our waterways,” he said.
“We have a responsibility – just like we do with shark numbers – to protect the public.”
The Safer Waterways Bill 2018 is still before the Parliament awaiting a vote.