State KAP leader Robbie Katter says an avoidable croc attack on a farm in North Queensland shows KAP’s Safer Waterways Bill must urgently pass the Parliament.
KAP’s Candidate for Cook, Gordon Rasmussen, was called to a Mareeba property on Sunday afternoon, where farm workers had been directed by the Department of Environment to capture crocodile. The farm worker was in the middle of a cane harvest when he noticed the 1.4metre crocodile. The croc was alive despite suffering burns from a fire on the property over the weekend.
“The harvesting company’s manager spent two hours trying to get hold of the Department of Environment to let them know about the croc,” Gordon said. “When he finally got through, the Department told him to catch the croc and take it to the local vet to be euthanised.”
The harvesting company’s workplace safety officer, Daryl Bell, and a harvesting machine operator tried to capture the crocodile, as instructed.
That was when Mr Bell was attacked. “The operator grabbed the tail and I grabbed the jaws but its skin started to peel off, I lost my grip and it grabbed my hand,” Mr Bell told the media.
“Its teeth went right through my thumb nail and a finger,” he said. “I felt sorry for the croc because it had been burnt and I had no intention of hurting it.”
Robbie Katter said this was exactly why KAP’s Safer Waterways Bill needed to pass the Parliament urgently.
“Under KAP’s Bill, the landholder could have killed the crocodile, ending its suffering from its burns, and preventing Mr Bell being attacked,” Robbie said.
KAP’s Safer Waterways bill is currently stuck in Parliament, unable to be voted on for nine months because of parliamentary rules that favour the major parties.
“We need action on this now,” Gordon Rasmussen said. “Not only would KAP’s Safer Waterways bill prevent crocodile attacks, it would create jobs and a multimillion dollar industry.”
“This is another example of city-based law makers being completely out of touch with what happens outside of Brisbane,” Gordon said.
“What happened yesterday shows just how broken the current crocodile management system is,” Gordon said.