A Tim Nicholls-led Liberal National Government will deliver a common sense, proactive crocodile management plan which focuses on public safety and the long-term sustainability of crocodile populations.
The Problem

Labor’s crocodile management policy is widely regarded as being too soft and slow.

Labor has replaced the LNP’s effective crocodile management plan with convoluted bureaucracy. Locals and tourists don’t have confidence in Labor’s policy, which appears to put crocodiles first.

In North and Far North Queensland, crocodile numbers are increasing and locals, including in built-up areas, now fear for their safety – and especially that of children and pets.

Our Record

In government, the LNP implemented a crocodile management policy modelled on the Northern Territory’s successful three-tiered approach. It was initiated in 201213 by developing pilot Crocodile Management Plans for the Cairns, Townsville, Hinchinbrook and Cassowary Coast local government areas – where crocodiles appear to be increasing, leading to rising crocodile human interactions.

The LNP boosted funding by $3 million to strengthen crocodile management.

Under the LNP Government, areas were managed as either:

  • Zone 1 – objective was to prevent crocodiles from entering the zone and to remove all crocodiles that entered.
  • Zone 2 – objective was to remove any saltwater crocodiles which were two metres or longer or a crocodile of any length that displayed aggressive behaviour, and
  • Zone 3 – objective was to remove “crocodiles of concern” only – that is, crocodiles displaying aggressive behaviour towards humans.

Our Real Plan

A Tim Nicholls-led LNP Government will put in place a common-sense approach to managing crocodiles:

  1. Local involvement in decision making The LNP will listen to local communities and local governments when determining which zones will apply in which regions. 
  2. Exclusion Aim to prevent crocodiles from entering urban areas, recognised swimming areas and beaches with stinger nets.
  3. Zero tolerance Reduce the risk of attack by removing crocodiles from areas near boat ramps and marinas. 
  4. Egg harvesting Allow the managed harvest of crocodile eggs in areas where crocodile populations are rising. Permits will be required to harvest the eggs.
  5. Euthanise Crocodiles when safe, quick capture isn’t an option Problem crocodiles can be euthanised now under an approval from the Chief Executive in accordance with the Nature Conservation (Estuarine Crocodile) Conservation Plan 2007 .

Queensland crocodile farms currently have to import their eggs from the Northern Territory. This will stop under the LNP’s plan, as we build a new industry in North Queensland.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this a cull?
No, this is not a cull. This is not about reducing the crocodile population but it is about managing crocodiles to protect people. 

Are crocodile sightings increasing?
Yes. The State Government’s open data website shows more crocodile sightings, with 235 sightings over six months in 2016. Extrapolated for the year, that’s 470 for 2016, substantially more than any year since 2010.

Number of crocodile sightings
Calendar Year
Number of Crocodiles
2010 272 
2011 360 
2012 388 
2013 351 
2014 396 
2015 310 
2016 (half year only) 235

How will crocodiles be euthanised?
Under certain circumstances, prescribed officers with appropriate training will be authorised to shoot problem crocodiles. A prescribed officer is a police officer, public service officer or inspector under the Fisheries Act 1994.

How many crocodiles are in Queensland?
The saltwater crocodile was harvested extensively in the wild throughout northern Australia during the 1940s, 50s and 60s. A severe reduction in the population resulted in management measures from all States and the Commonwealth. Saltwater crocodiles were given full protection in Western Australia in 1970, the Northern Territory in 1971 and Queensland in 1974.

There were fears at the time that the crocodile population would not recover. However, the current Australian saltwater crocodile population is conservatively estimated at more than 100,000. There are no current estimates of the Queensland saltwater crocodile population although sightings have increased and community feedback from North Queensland is that there are now many areas with very high crocodile populations.