• Rangers and traditional owners have warned about water safety after video was released of a woman scaring a saltwater crocodile away with a thong. (AAP)Source: AAP
Queensland councils are asking the state government to let them move crocodiles roaming their communities before the predators kill someone.
By
Andrea Booth

Source:
NITV News
13 Jun 2016 - 5:18 PM  UPDATED 15 Jun 2016 - 5:32 PM

Pormpuraaw Mayor Ralph Kendall told NITV News he wants Queensland Government to give local rangers the power to "deal with" crocodiles to protect his community from their immediate threat.

He says two rangers in his community on the west coast of the Cape York Peninsula have 35 years of croc-handling experience between them.

“It would be better if our guys on the ground help deal with the problem instead of waiting on something bad to happen and whoever’s job to deal with it down south comes up – when it could have been prevented,” he says.

Mr Kendall suggests rangers could take problem crocodiles to farms or areas for wild harvesting, which would spur more income for farmers.

'When will the government respond?'

Mornington Shire Council CEO Frank Mills told NITV News he has been asking the state government since December to relocate a crocodile in the council's jurisdiction, which spans 22 islands to form the Wellesley Islands group in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

"We can't get any action taken whatsoever, there's need for local input into the process,” Mr Mills says.

He says the crocodile is estimated to be 4.5 to 5 metres long - nearly double the size of a crocodile capable of dragging a human underwater.

"A community like this that has grown up with crocodiles is having problems with crocodiles in the area, so there's genuine concern," he says.

While Mr Mills says he expects a rangers program will commence in the shire in the new financial year, he says he is concerned it will be land-based.

Pormpuraaw and Mornington shires are two of Queensland's 17 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander councils that want the state to let them increase rangers' capacity to deal with crocodiles.

Their calls follow discussion about the topic at the Indigenous Leaders Forum held in Cairns last Thursday.

The Local Government Association of Queensland, the state's peak body for local governments that hosted the forum, told media it will continue lobbying for councils to be granted power to "capture and relocate" crocodiles.

A spokesperson for Queensland's Department of Environment and Heritage Protection told NITV News it has not received "any formal request from Indigenous Councils on Cape York Peninsula" over giving rangers authority to control crocodiles.

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It adds it "would be willing to hear community leaders’ views on crocodile management in their council areas as it reviews its "approach to crocodile management".

This review will be informed by feedback received through an online survey.

There have been a number of crocodile attacks in recent months. Authorities believe they have recovered the remains of Cindy Waldron, 46, who disappeared after a crocodile launched at her at Thornton Beach in the Daintree, about 130 kilometres from Cairns in late May.

Earlier that month, Noel Ramage drowned after a crocodile struck the boat he and his friend Ray McCumber were fishing from at Saltwater Arm near Darwin.