Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan. Picture: Evan Morgan
Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan. Picture: Evan Morgan

Group snaps back at Costo’s ‘shoot to kill’ croc cull plan

MACKAY Conservation Group has slammed Jason Costigan's proposed "shoot to kill" crocodile plan, accusing the Whitsunday MP of politicising the issue.

Mr Costigan's NQ First party has proposed that any crocodile spotted in a populated area be shot by a licensed contractor, if there is risk of a person being attacked.

"We cannot afford to have departmental people getting a phone call about a crocodile, then getting to the location a few hours later, putting up signs and then taking weeks and possibly months to catch these monsters," he said.

"We need swift action and that includes shooting these man-eaters that continue to grow in numbers after they were protected in Queensland in 1974."

The policy is dependent on NQ First securing the balance of power at the state election.

Mr Costigan is also advocating for a croc industry, similar to one in the Northern Territory, being established in Queensland.

KILLER CROC: Posing with the crocodile that killed two young girls on their way to school are from left, Fred Murray, G. Gallagher, T. Biggs, Ted Zunker, Bill Adams, R. Pearce (sitting), P. Butterwirth, Bill Schofield, Ted Rennels and Mr Patterson. 1933.Photo Daily Mercury Archives
KILLER CROC: Posing with the crocodile that killed two young girls on their way to school are from left, Fred Murray, G. Gallagher, T. Biggs, Ted Zunker, Bill Adams, R. Pearce (sitting), P. Butterwirth, Bill Schofield, Ted Rennels and Mr Patterson. 1933.Photo Daily Mercury Archives

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This would include the harvesting of eggs, increased use of crocodile meat in restaurants and the manufacturing of leather products.

But Mackay Conservation Group co-ordinator Peter McCallum said the Whitsunday MP had blown the state's crocodile issue out of proportion.

"(The crocodile cull debate) may be beneficial to some people's political careers, but it doesn't have any basis in evidence," Mr McCallum said.

"I think that the whole fear around crocodiles is overblown, the fact is that in Queensland, there is only one fatal attack by crocodiles every two to four years.

"If you compare that to something like boating fatalities where there are around 20 per year, that shows crocs are not the main issue of concern."

Mr McCallum said removing top predators from an ecosystem could have detrimental consequences by causing an "explosion" in numbers of other species.

He said more time and money should be spent on increasing community education about crocodile safety.

Mackay Conservation Group coordinator Peter McCallum.
Mackay Conservation Group coordinator Peter McCallum.

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Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said a commonsense approach was needed on the issue.

"To ensure problem crocs continue to be removed promptly and safely, the Palaszczuk Government provided an additional $6 million over two years for enhanced estuarine crocodile management in the 2019-2020 Budget," Ms Enoch said.

"Human safety always comes first.

"That's why the policy allows for dangerous crocodiles to be captured or euthanised if they can't be caught.

"To suggest that you can make any waterway in crocodile country, crocodile free would give the public a false sense of safety, leading to complacency and an increased risk of attacks."