The Palaszczuk Government’s new Queensland Crocodile Management Plan (QCMP) has failed its first test in the Hinchinbrook Shire, after the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) did not respond to a call from the Forrest Beach Surf Lifesaving Club (FBSLC) last weekend.
Hinchinbrook MP, Andrew Cripps, said he had written to Labor’s Environment Minister, Steven Miles, on behalf of concerned members of the FBSLC, after their volunteers were left to monitor and alert the public to the presence of a large crocodile just off the beach last Sunday.
Mr Cripps said two adult FBSLC members with extensive patrol experience identified and monitored a large crocodile, estimated to be between 3 and 4 metres in length, about 100 metres off the beach and contacted the QPWS to report its continuing presence in the area.
“The two FBSLC volunteers were asked to erect a sign to warn the public, but were advised QPWS officers would not be attending the site themselves and to the best of our knowledge, no one from that agency has bothered to follow up on the incident since that time” said Mr Cripps.
“This is despite the new QCMP stating that in Zone D (which includes the Forrest Beach swimming enclosure area), when dealing with a large crocodile, certain steps should be taken to manage the risk to the public – clearly the new document is a meaningless piece of paper” he said.
Mr Cripps said under the Palaszczuk Government’s new QCMP, a large crocodile was defined as a crocodile larger than 2 metres and where a large crocodile was identified within a Zone D area, the QPWS was obliged to monitor the crocodile and encourage it to move away from the area.
“None of these things have been done by the QPWS at Forrest Beach – they haven’t undertaken any monitoring and haven’t done anything to move the crocodile on – they left it to the volunteers from the FBSLC to warn the public and took no action whatsoever”.
“In fact, I am advised by the representative of the FBSLC who contacted me that the QPWS officers who took the call from the volunteers on patrol last Sunday were completely disinterested in the situation – Labor’s new QCMP has failed its very first test in the Hinchinbrook Shire”.
Mr Cripps has previously described Labor’s new QCMP as a step backwards for the safety of North Queenslanders, by creating a more complicated, less flexible framework for local communities to manage problem crocodiles and failing to establish a crocodile egg harvesting industry.