The Northern Territory Government is planning to introduce tougher penalties for people who act dangerously around crocodiles.
An inquest is being held in Darwin to investigate the death of a young girl who was taken by a crocodile outside Darwin last year.
The Minister for Parks and Wildlife, Karl Hampton, says he will not comment on the active coronial investigation.
But he says the Government is now making additional efforts and contributing extra resources to crocodile management and research.
“I think the majority of people in the Top End who share the environment with crocodiles certainly do take it seriously because we know and they know well and truly what the risks are,” he said.
“I’m certainly as the minister looking at bringing in tougher laws and increasing those penalties through legislation this year.”
The inquest into the the death of a Darwin girl in a crocodile attack last year has heard crocodile numbers were not managed in the area at the time.
Briony Goodsell, 11, was killed in March last year while swimming with friends at Black Jungle Swamp in Darwin’s rural area.
The inquest has heard a boy swimming with the girl heard her yell for help before she was pulled down and the children saw a crocodile’s tail.
The head of the Government’s crocodile management team, Tommy Nichols, told the coroner the crocodile was between three and three and a half metres long.
The mother of children swimming with the girl, Monica Lang, said she knew the creek connected to the Adelaide River flood plain but did not know there were crocodiles there.
The Northern Territory ranger responsible for the creek has told the inquest he would have warned people if he knew they were swimming in the area.
Barry Scott said he had not heard that people were swimming in the creek.
He said signs now made it clear crocodiles were in the area.
‘The message has to get out’
The coroner, Greg Cavanagh, has told the inquest the message has to get out that the animals are not just dangerous but deadly man-eaters.
Counsel assisting the coroner, Helen Roberts, said the inquest will highlight the issue of crocodile safety and how it was dealt with at the time of the death.
Ms Roberts said public safety formed only a very small part of the previous crocodile management plan.