Road safety

My adjournment matter tonight is for the Minister for Roads and Road Safety in the other place, and the action I am seeking is for the minister to request that VicRoads undertake an investigation into the possibility of increased incidences of cars running into kangaroos as a result of the newly installed wire protective barriers along many of the freeways in Victoria.

A couple of weeks ago I was up at Nagambie. I went for a bit of a drive in the afternoon, and I very nearly hit a kangaroo as I was driving along a gravel road. I had to swerve to miss the kangaroo, which was obviously a bit dangerous, but I was able to control the situation and nothing occurred. As a result of that I was highly aware of kangaroos in that part of central Victoria. On the following Monday when I was driving down to Melbourne for a meeting, between Seymour and Wallan, which is a distance of 59 kilometres, I encountered 38 dead animals either beside or on the Hume Freeway. There were 33 kangaroos and five dead foxes. I thought to myself, 'That seems to be a very high number of dead animals' — kangaroos and foxes, particularly kangaroos — 'in such a short number of kilometres'.

If you are driving along in your car and there is a kangaroo in the middle of the road and you hit it, it can be very dangerous to you and it can be very dangerous to the other occupants in the car, particularly if they are your family members. One of the things that can happen when you see a kangaroo in the middle of the road as you are driving along at 100 or 110 kilometres an hour, which is the speed limit on the Hume Freeway, is that you can actually get quite a fright. What can happen is that people could, one, either run straight into the kangaroo by accident or, two, try and swerve to avoid hitting the kangaroo, which is probably a natural reaction. If you were to do that, it is possible that you could potentially run into another car or run off the road and crash.

I have had plenty of comments from constituents verifying the number of kangaroos up there. I think in the last couple of years after a couple of wet seasons the kangaroo numbers have really built up and they are becoming a bit of a pest. You usually see a few dead kangaroos along the side of the road, but after seeing 33 dead kangaroos in 59 kilometres I just wonder whether they are getting onto the road and getting stuck in between those wire barriers that we see have been erected. They are on the way up to Bendigo, they are on the way up to Ballarat, they are up the Hume Freeway as well and I know they are on the way down to Gippsland. I am just wondering whether there is some correlation between the number of dead kangaroos that have been hit by vehicles and those wire barriers, so I ask the minister to get VicRoads to have a look at that and see if there is any correlation at all.

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