An emotional Queensland MP is leading calls for wild horses to be culled in the state’s far north following a fatal crash that killed a teenage boy.
A 15-year-old boy died early on Wednesday after the car he was in hit the carcass of a horse on the Bruce Highway, just north of Townsville, and then ploughed into a tree.
It’s the second such death in just two months. A motorcyclist died on July 31 when his bike hit a horse on the same highway, in the same area.
The latest crash also left a 35-year-old woman in a critical condition, and another boy, 14, in hospital with a head injury.
Thuringowa MP Aaron Harper said he had already been in discussions with state and local agencies urging for brumby populations to be controlled after the motorcyclist died.
He fought back tears when speaking about the latest incident.
“I’m devastated, I’m absolutely gutted, there’s no other words for it,” Mr Harper told AAP.
“It’s actually really hard to talk about.”
Mr Harper said he’d been on the phones to multiple state departments on Wednesday and was hopeful the Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing would cull the estimated 200-strong wild horse population in the area soon.
Road workers were already putting warning signs along the problem stretch of road, he said.
Townsville councillor Sue Blom, whose division covers the area where the deaths occurred, has also called for an immediate cull, saying the state needs to do it, or give council permission to carry it out.
“They are still doing a lot of lip smacking and now we’ve had another death,” she said.
“They need to cull these animals. They are feral pests along with pigs and the wild dogs that we have in the area and they need to be treated the same.”
National Parks Minister Steven Miles said the latest incident was “absolutely tragic”, but didn’t commit to a cull.
“QPWS (Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services) is not conducting lethal feral horse control at Clement State Forest or Paluma National Park at the present time,” Dr Miles said.
“But (it) may consider this control method as part of an agreed strategy between all landholders and in the interest of public safety.”