Council's croc-safe plan a tough ask: Barron River MP Michael Trout
BARRON River MP Michael Trout doesn't see the sense in some of the drastic measures the Cairns council has proposed to keep crocs out of popular swimming spots.
Cairns Regional Council has recommended large crocodile prevention barriers be installed at Lake Placid and Freshwater Creek to keep out the reptiles during the peak tourism season.
The council believes the measures would allow the waterways to be classified "exclusion zones", guaranteeing swimmers it’s safe to go in without encountering a croc.
In other north Queensland councils, Townsville City Council wants to declare "croc-free zones" throughout popular coastal areas including Pallarenda, Rowes Bay, The Strand, Ross Creek, parts of Ross River and Magnetic Island’s beaches.
Hinchinbrook Shire Council is asking the State Government to give it, and local police, powers to shoot aggressive crocodiles.
Hinchinbrook shire also wants crocodiles removed from popular fishing and boating areas such as Forrest Beach, Lucinda and Taylors Beach.
Cassowary Coast Regional Council wants to clear crocodiles from sections of the North and South Johnstone rivers used for recreational and commercial fishing.
The recommendations were made as part of the State Government’s review of its crocodile management policy, which local councils have been asked to weigh in on.
But Mr Trout says it would be impractical to install a large barrier to keep an animal out of waters such as Freshwater Creek or Barron River, where the depth varies each year.
He believes the State Government’s money would be better spent policing "zero tolerance zones", where crocs are removed when they are reported and no guarantee is made that the water is crocodile-free.
"I want to go down the line of zero tolerance zones because I don’t believe exclusion zones are possible," Mr Trout said.
He applauded the council for its input to the plan, but said more discussions were needed to determine what would be viable and effective.
"I’ll be all ears when I meet them (today), but all I can see with a protective barrier is $2 million or $3 million being spent on a fence that would be wrecked in the first flood," Mr Trout said.
The State Government will spend $500,000 implementing its new croc management plan, which borrows a three-tiered approach from the Northern Territory Government.
Mr Trout favours the zero tolerance level of protection, and he wants it declared over popular waters around Port Douglas and Wonga Beach as well.
Additional reporting Anthony Templeton, The Townsville Bulletin
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Won't work: Barron River MP Michael Trout says the Cairns Regional Council's croc-safe plan is drastic.