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5 February, 2021

Take responsibility for your actions

Editorial - Cairns Local News #21 Feb 5, 2021

By Peter McCullagh

The biggest issue at play this past week in the north must be the response to last Thursday’s crocodile attack at Lake Placid.

It’s fair to say that social media lit up, and opinion rested fairly at both ends of the spectrum.

One side roundly criticised the victim and expressed concern for the future of the croc.

The opposing side were firmly in favour of culling and or the removal of all crocodiles from our beaches and waterways.

No one side actually landed a ‘killer’ blow in the debate. Obviously both sides make valid points and public opinion is perhaps evenly divided on the issue.

What needs to be stated is perhaps the bleeding obvious. We need to take responsibility for our actions. If we swim where there’s warning signs, and previous sightings of crocodiles, we have to accept the responsibility for our actions.

Unfortunately we become a little blasé here in the north with regard to natural dangers. We all acknowledge that we live in the most beautiful and unique part of the world. There’s a price to pay for living here, and unfortunately the price is that we share our living and recreational space with spiders, snakes, stingers and crocodiles.

If we don’t want to share our natural environment move somewhere else. Crocodiles inhabit Lake Placid. If you want to swim there, accept that there is a risk, and if you are on the losing end of the outcome, take it on the chin. Don’t call for the destruction of the crocodile; accept responsibility for your actions.

Long term we need to manage environmental risks in populated areas. We manage the risks when it comes to stingers. Beaches have stinger nets, and swimmers wear stinger suits. People still get stung.

Fortunately we do not have some of our more rabid politicians and social media warriors calling for the immediate dredging of our oceans to remove stingers.

Let’s manage the risk with crocodiles. Lake Placid is classified as a Zone B area. Crocodiles are removed and relocated if sighted. But please, if you swim in an area where there have been sightings, accept responsibility for your actions.

Please do not bleat that 40 years ago you used to swim in Lake Placid with no concerns. Times change, forty years ago we all went to the beach and did not pack sun screen. Roasted ourselves red raw and thought nothing of it. Just because we did something 40 years ago does not make it applicable today.


Peter McCullagh


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