Kennedy MP Bob Katter.
Kennedy MP Bob Katter. Greg Miller

MP calls for croc shooting safaris

FOR outspoken North Queensland MP Bob Katter, the answer to curbing a booming crocodile population is simple - shooting safaris.

The kind of man versus beast adventure that would draw khaki-clad hunters from around the globe to the remote reaches of the Gulf where the highest concentrations of prized Australian saltwater crocodiles could be there for the trophy taking.

As he downed cold beers at a far north pub, Mr Katter chuckled at the general discomfort he causes in Queensland Government ranks with phrases such as "nothing a swift bullet can't fix".

The Federal Member for Kennedy said the state's tourism industry had much to gain from the plan he is taking to Canberra in coming weeks.

Mr Katter said while it would be up to scientists to pinpoint the cause of the apparent increase - he believes that along with removing the human predator, the decline of the goanna, groper and barramundi have significantly impacted hatchling survival rates - Queensland did not need a costly survey to prove there was a problem.

"They are everywhere ... the balance has been knocked right off and it's going to get worse unless we bring it back into kilter," Mr Katter said.

"Growing up, I think I swam in just about every river in North Queensland at one point or another," Mr Katter said

"I would not swim in them now."


A "rough draft" of Mr Katter's plan would see indigenous guides and rangers leading a program similar to the pig hunting tours currently being trialled in Normanton that double as a pest control measure.

He hopes to sit down with Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion this week to "work out a serious proposal" to table in parliament.

The plan will need a more welcoming reception in Canberra than it has so far received in Brisbane.

Labelling the plan "ridiculous", Queensland Environment Minister Steven Miles said he would "rather be guided by respected conservationists like Terri Irwin and the three quarters of Queenslanders who think conservation should play a role in our crocodile management strategy".

He maintained the survey and the committed $5.8 million over the next three years to increase and improve crocodile management were the best way forward.

State Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls also supports the current crocodile management program but his LNP colleagues - Whitsundays MP Jason Costigan and shadow Queensland environment minister Christian Rowan are on the record as supporting a humane cull.

Mr Katter said the side one took in the crocodile debate usually depended on whether they lived "in concrete buildings" or anywhere north of Mackay.

"You can't tell people in the north 'Just be more careful when you go near a waterway'," Mr Katter said

"Up here, you can't really go more than a kilometre without running into a waterway.

"It will get to the stage of 'Step outside your home in some places and you are taking a risk'.

"We've got our ratbags up here (in North Queensland) but there is something extremely wrong and sick with individuals who place a higher value on an animal life than a human life."


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