NSW Lib/Nat plan will destroy Kosciuszko National Park
The NSW government’s plan to protect wild horses from lethal culling inside Kosciuszko national park will “veto evidence-based management” of their environmental impact, the RSPCA has warned.
Let me say before going any further that though I strongly support severely reducing the number of feral horses in our alpine regions, with a view to eventually eliminating them completely, I do not support culling by shooting or poisoning. There are other, humane ways of doing it, as the Victorian government is demonstrating .
Bidda Jones from the RSPCA, together with a group of experts who helped draft a management plan for the estimated 6,000 wild horses in the park, have issued a scathing critique of legislation to formally recognise the cultural and heritage significance of wild horses.
They say the bill would “make it impossible to conserve the unique environmental values” of Kosciuszko and urge the government to reconsider.
Last month the NSW government scrapped a recommendation from its own environment department to cull brumby numbers in the national park by up to 90% and instead introduced legislation to ensure they are protected.
But the decision has been widely criticised by environmentalists, academics and the Victorian government, which has its own plan to remove more than 1,200 feral horses from its Alpine National Park, because of the environmental damage they cause.
The RSPCA and other experts said the bill would make it impossible to fulfil the goals of the 2016 brumby management plan they had helped the government to draft.
In a letter to members of the NSW government and opposition seen by the Guardian Australia, the RSPCA and members of the NSW government-appointed independent technical reference group said recommendations were being “ignored” by the government.
It said the 2016 expert review found that wild horses were having “a significant negative environmental impact” in Kosciuszko and that “doing nothing is not an option”.
“There is very little detail in the bill about how wild horses will now be managed in [Kosciuszko],” the letter reads. “We urge you to reconsider this approach and, at the very least, ensure that the bill includes the appointment of a new [expert group] to ensure that there is appropriate representation from the scientific community into future management decisions.”
Last week Greens NSW MP and Environment Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, said “This Government simply cannot be trusted to do anything good for the environment, but now their destructive agenda knows no bounds. They’ve legislated the destruction of the Kosciusko National Park and undermined the integrity of the National Parks and Wildlife Act which has the mandate to protect the environment.
The Greens moved a number of amendments to inject some much needed sanity and science into the rotten bill, but this shameless Government voted them all down.
“I moved amendments to ensure the Kosciusko National Park plan of management, the National Parks and Wildlife Act and National Park Management Principles prevail over any wild horse management plan without which we are destined for an ever-worse outcome, but the Government voted them all down” said Dr Faruqi.
Protecting the alpine regions of our country has been an ongoing battle for a long time, but this bizarre bill from the NSW government will only make things worse as the environment further degrades and more native fauna disappears.