Straying cattle a road risk
Straying livestock between Broome and Derby have been involved in 25 vehicle accidents over three years from 2014-2016 but a Kimberley-based MLC believes the figure would be significantly higher if every incident was reported.
An injured person needed to be taken to hospital after one of the crashes.
Figures released in State Parliament show Main Roads maintenance crews have buried 225 cattle found dead along the same 220km stretch from January, 2014-March, 2018.
Derby resident and Mining and Pastoral Region MLC Robin Chapple last month had a lucky escape when the troop carrier he was driving collided with a cow on the Great Northern Highway, about 100km north of Broome.
The Greens MLC first raised the matter in State Parliament in 2015 with a series of questions and followed up with some new queries last month, which were answered by Minister for the Environment Stephen Dawson on behalf of Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.
“Cattle on Kimberley roads is a major problem and will continue to cause major accidents and injuries to motorists unless we find solutions to keep cattle off our highways,” Mr Chapple said.
“I raised the matter again recently after my own accident earlier this month.
“My troopy copped it, as did the cow, but I was lucky enough to walk away unharmed, unlike some. We have to work with pastoralists on this issue.
“Living in Derby, I know that many people are concerned and want to see the Government work to make our roads safer.”
There have been four fatal
accidents involving cattle in the Kimberley between 2000 and 2015, including one on the Great Northern Highway about 25km south of Derby in December, 2013.
In his answers, Mr Dawson said the dead animals were identified and details recorded where station ear tags were present but brands were not logged.
He said an advisory group for the management of straying cattle in regional Western Australia had convened at least eight times since its inception in 2012, with the last meeting on July 6, 2015.
Mr Dawson said pastoralists were responsible for monitoring their own stock and not allowing their cattle to stray on any roads or permit them to remain there.
WA Police and local governments are the only third parties permitted to remove cattle from the road.
Mr Dawson said 12 of 20 separate projects allocated a total of $10.75 million in January were complete, including fencing at known hotspots on the Victoria Highway and installation of a grid on Valentine Spring Road, both in the Kimberley region.
The remaining work would be staged as the program had been extended until 2019-20, with about $5.56 million of animal mitigation projects planned over the next three years, Mr Dawson said.