Hinchinbrook MP, Andrew Cripps, says he is still waiting for a reply from Environment Minister, Steven Miles, after he raised safety concerns about the number of brumbies on the Bruce Highway and local roads on Townsville’s Northern Beaches.
Mr Cripps said he wrote to Minister Miles on 1 September 2015 after a number of constituents had contacted him about the issue and a report in the Townsville Bulletin had suggested the Queensland Government was in discussions with Townsville City Council.
“I’ve had no response from Minister Miles, or anyone else from the Queensland Government, which is pretty disappointing, given that it appears discussions are going on about how to address this issue and what solutions are being considered” said Mr Cripps.
“These brumbies are obviously moving around more as a result of the prolonged dry weather looking for food and water, but recent newspaper reports suggest the government is considering fencing off state-owned land adjacent to the Bruce Highway” he said.
“This is not a new issue – we’ve encountered this problem before in recent years when there was an extended period of dry weather and we were able to address it with a passive trapping and rehabilitation program for the brumbies in Clement State Forest”.
“The Environment Department is aware of that program and I know the contractor would be willing to recommence his work, because I was involved in setting it up the last time brumbies were causing safety concerns on roads on Townsville’s Northern Beaches”.
Mr Cripps said he wondered how costly the proposal to fence off lengthy sections of the Bruce Highway would be and if anyone from the Environment Department had bothered to contact the previous contractor about resuming the passive trapping and rehabilitation program.
“It’s not only the cost of building a fence to a standard that would prevent brumbies from crossing the Bruce Highway, but also the cost of maintaining it – I hope some practical people are involved in these discussions to identify effective solutions”.
“The road safety concerns of residents on Townsville’s Northern Beaches are serious and legitimate, but we don’t have to reinvent the wheel because we have faced these issues before – so I hope the Minister responds to my correspondence soon”.