'Only a matter of time before croc kills a child'

Eimeo Surf Lifesaving Club sports director Alan Zamparutti believes it is only a matter of time before a swimmer is taken by a crocodile at Eimeo Beach.
Eimeo Surf Lifesaving Club sports director Alan Zamparutti believes it is only a matter of time before a swimmer is taken by a crocodile at Eimeo Beach. Kieran Moran

"IT is only a matter of time until a swimmer or a child is killed by a crocodile at Eimeo."

Those are the words of angry and frustrated Eimeo residents after years of asking the Queensland Government to remove a crocodile that frequents Eimeo Beach and Sunset Bay.

"He is over four metres long," Eimeo resident Majella Sammut said.

"The last time I saw the crocodile was earlier this year but I don't go swimming in the area, because I think there is a real danger, so I haven't seen him since then.

Ms Sammut said she had been in contact with the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) which is responsible for the removal of crocodiles.

"They have looked for him and swear they can't find him, which is a load of crap," she said.

"I believe they are not interested until someone is injured or killed and by then it will be too late."

In an issue that has been ongoing for at least two years, LNP Member for the Whitsundays Jason Costigan raised the issue again on Saturday, claiming Queensland Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles "doesn't have the appetite to indulge" in a crocodile removal program in Mackay.

"Trying to trap a crocodile in the Mackay northern beaches for the State Government is like hunting for a Russian sub," Mr Costigan said.

"It appears that no one seems to be able to do the business of removing the crocodile and unfortunately it seems that it won't be removed until someone is most likely killed.

"I don't think there is an appetite for the Minister to indulge in such a program and I believe there is more chance of snow up at Eungella before he does something about it.

"What I can't work out is they are able to trap crocodiles in Cairns and Townsville but can't do so at the Mackay northern beaches."


This crocodile at Eimeo Beach has raised many concerns amongst residents, who are asking when will the EHP remove it from the area.
This crocodile at Eimeo Beach has raised many concerns amongst residents, who are asking when will the EHP remove it from the area.

On Sunday, Eimeo Surf Lifesaving Club held a surf lifesaving event during which more than 100 Nippers were swimming at Eimeo Beach.

The club's sports director, Alan Zamparutti, said the issue of the crocodile and its removal had been raised a number of times with the EHP and he had concerns for swimmers at the beach.

"Nothing ever seems to get done about it," Mr Zamparutti said

"We are very concerned, considering how close the creek is to where our Nippers swim, and it is disgusting that nothing has been done.

"Fisherman have told me that they have reported it to the EHP but what will it take to get it removed?

"They tell us that the crocodile needs to show aggressive behaviour before it can be removed but it seems as though the government won't do anything until someone is killed."

The last crocodile to be removed from the Mackay region was a 4.2 metre estuarine crocodile from Bakers Creek's effluent pond on April 23, 2015.

In the past five years 124 crocodile sightings in the region have been reported to the EHP. There have been 28 reported sightings this year alone.

The 124 reported crocodile sightings were investigated by EHP wildlife officers.

Dr Miles told the Daily Mercury that no government had done more on crocodile management than the Palaszczuk Government.

"This government has committed $5.8 million over the next three years for crocodile management, including $2.7 million for a crocodile survey and monitoring program," he said.

"We have also made the jobs of 10 wildlife officers permanent - their positions were only temporary under the LNP, so we are also creating more jobs in regional Queensland.

"The government has also been conducting consultation with key organisations such as regional councils, including Mackay Regional Council, State Government departments, conservation interests, the tourism sector, Surf Life Saving Queensland and other key stakeholders, as well as an online survey that was available to all.

"The results of this extensive consultation exercise are currently being analysed and will inform future crocodile management decisions."

Members of the public who see crocodiles are encouraged to report sightings as soon as possible to EHP wildlife officers by phoning 1300 130 372.

What you've said on social media

Athia Wasson-Hodgins: It's a beach... There are going to be dangerous things in there. If its not a croc its a shark or a jelly fish. You cannot remove everything that's scary out of their home and put them some where else so you can swim.  

Petrina Johnson: Why are people staying off the beach?? Just keep a watchful eye. Daily mercury stop creating fear in people. We live in a area where crocs, jelly fish and other dangerous animals live and always have so be aware.  

Eddie Higgins: Nah, we don't need enclosures. Just let the tourist swim free range, only the weak will be eaten.  

Linda Van H: If this was Brisbane they would have moved that croc on the first time it was sighted.  

Dean Ashley Rawlins: Ryan Bridge Craig Black another lovely looking fish just of the beach  

Kieran Bird: Kerri Bird. This is our local beach. 5 mins down the road from us. Want to go for a swim when you come up?

Topics:  crocodiles eimeo beach environment queensland department of environment and heritage sunset bay surf lifesaving

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