ACT News

Hungry kangaroos on collision course with snow traffic from Canberra

Cooma smash repairers cannot keep up with large numbers of cars damaged in collisions with kangaroos while travelling to the snowfields.

Returning from the snow on Wednesday, a driver counted 102 dead animals, mainly large kangaroos and wombats, between Jindabyne and Queanbeyan. Another driver says dead wombats on the edge of roads are more frequent closer to the snow.

If a problem with a new car is a major one, customers can pursue a refund or replacement.
If a problem with a new car is a major one, customers can pursue a refund or replacement. Photo: Jay Cronan

Summit Smash Repairs, Cooma, owner Doug Arnold says this year has been his busiest ever. "We are probably getting five kangaroo hits per day, " he said.

Mr Arnold has 20 damaged cars in his workshop, and 120 cars on a waiting list. These are from Cooma and district. Other damaged cars are sent back to their place of origin for repairs. "We just deal with locals, the out-of-town stuff gets sent back, we don't want any more work," he said.

One of many dead kangaroos on the road from Canberra to the snowfields..
One of many dead kangaroos on the road from Canberra to the snowfields.. Photo: Rohan Thomson

"Since yesterday I have done 11 quotes, all between $2500 o $4500."

"The kangaroos have bred up," Mr Arnold said. "My boys have a farm, they put pasture in last year and the year before and they have had over 200 kangaroos on it every night, eating the pasture, they won't eat the grass around the pasture."

Advertisement

Mr Arnold said wildlife including deer and horses were increasing because of ideal seasonal conditions in recent years.

In Queanbeyan, David Smash Repairs director Mark Gray said the number of animal collisions spiked at the end of winter because they came into town to graze. "Unfortunately there's not a lot we can do to avoid collisions. They are everywhere," Mr Gray said.

Doug Arnold with a car damaged in a collision with a kangaroo.
Doug Arnold with a car damaged in a collision with a kangaroo.  

"Average repair costs at my shop start from $2000 up to $15,000. I've got a job at the moment that is costing $26,000."

At Cooma, M and T Motors owner Stuart Dean was called out 10 times over one recent weekend to accidents involving kangaroos. Eight of the cars were write-offs. His peak times are 6.30pm to 11.30pm and from 5.30am to 7.30am when people travel to and from Canberra or the snowfields.

"This year, mate, they [kangaroos] are twice the size," Mr Dean said. "Last year we had as many 'roos but they were all really small. This year, because it has been a good season, it is like they are on steroids, they are all twice the size of what they usually are, and we are getting twice or three times as many vehicles which are being written off because of them.

"I have a brand new [Hyundai] ix35 going back to Canberra, I had a [Toyota] HiAce going back to Wollongong on Tuesday, all late model cars," Mr Dean said.

Mr Dean said Michelago and approaching Bredbo from Canberra were hot spots for collisions.

An organic garlic grower at Ingelara farm between Bredbo and Michelago, John Pye, says the edge of the Monaro Highway is littered with kangaroos. "I can't believe how many there are. To me there seems an excess. Here on a rainy day you can see hundreds in the paddocks."

Mr Pye said a dead kangaroo could be seen at least every half a kilometre. "You have your heart in your mouth travelling into Canberra," he said.