A public dispute erupted at the Cairns crocodile consultation meeting yesterday, when opinionated attendees stated their positions on the Katter’s Australian Party proposal.
While Kennedy MP Bob Katter and Dalrymple MP Shane Knuth were covering the topics of crocodile culling, safari shooting and egg harvesting, eco-activist groups and locals stated their difference in opinion.
Chaired by Cairns Regional Councillor, Brett Olds, he tried to maintain the crowd to a dull roar but it did not stop some determined protesters.
“Discussion was opened to the floor there were easily 100 people so I reminded everyone there would be many different opinions and to respect them,” Cr Olds said.
“This lasted probably five minutes before a Kiwi man stood up and stated his position on the matters. Afterwards an elderly lady stood up and said she could detect an accent and to ask the true locals.
“That was when the hecklers started but it was only a small contingent in the crowd who just kept wanting to have their say.”
After the meeting a man otherwise known to social media as Wild Man approached Bob Katter and asked him if removing crocodiles from water systems would work. Which turned into an uproar.
Despite the controlled dispute, the KAP states it was all a vital part of the crocodile consultation tour with north Queenslanders.
“There is big concerns that crocs are moving into the irrigation canals, waterways and swaps where they have never been seen before,” Shane Knuth said.
“The general mood of the Cairns region is that they want something done about the removal of crocs right through to the far north.
“Cairns was the final leg of the tour that started at Mareeba, Port Douglas and Innisfail with Member for Mount Isa, Robbie Katter, travelling to Mornington Island, Normanton and Burketown for further discussions.”
Mr Knuth said the KAP had done the hard yards.
“We have had all these consultation meetings, we have had the feedback and after two months of consultation the major parties are starting to acknowledge that putting up more croc signs, education of crocs and rezoning does nothing for the infestation of crocodiles in our waterways,” Mr Knuth said.
“Our goal is to claim back ownership of our waterways and put people’s safety first. There have been dogs going missing every month in the Port Douglas area believing they were taken by crocs along the coast.
”We are now putting together a very comprehensive package together that not only removes crocodiles but sees an economic return to the region.”
The KAP is in the process of drafting a legislation to table in parliament by the end of next week.