Berejiklian's chaos on Kosciuszko - forced to protect wildlife from feral horses while making special laws in favour of horses

In Parliament | 30.11.18

The Berejiklian-Barilaro Government’s management of the environment is again in chaos after its own scientific committee made findings that will force funding for the protection of endangered species from feral horses – just months after the Government passed laws to protect the very same feral horses.

Under the Government’s own Biodiversity Conservation Act, feral horses will now be listed as a “key threatening process”, meaning they adversely affect threatened species and could also cause species that are not currently threatened to become threatened.

This listing has the effect of requiring the Government to fund programs to address the threat that horses pose to endangered native wildlife and ecosystems.

Amid great controversy earlier this year, the government passed the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act to protect wild horses in Kosciuszko National Park above all other environmental and cultural values within the park, ignoring the science and the irreversible damage that unmanaged wild horse populations have done to the park and the unique threatened species that live there.

These include unique alpine species like the Corroboree Frog and Mountain Pygmy Possum, which exist nowhere else on earth, as well causing damage to soil and water quality in the pristine Snowy Mountains.

Labor opposed the laws and has committed to repeal them if elected to government in 2019.

Now there is a direct contradiction between the laws and the threat listing, which would leave NSW in the dubious position of actively protecting an animal that is a serious threat to native wildlife, while at the same time spending taxpayers’ money to fight the very same threat.

Quotes attributable to Deputy Opposition Leader and Shadow Environment Minister Penny Sharpe

“The government’s position is indefensible – the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act should be repealed immediately. 

“The horses are destroying the fragile alpine environment and need to be managed, not given special protection over every other animal and plant in Kosciuszko National Park. 

“If elected, Labor will repeal these terrible laws and reinstate the National Parks and Wildlife Act. We will work with key stakeholders to manage wild horses and we will invest in long term catchment repair within the park. 

“Kosciusko National Park is our only alpine national park, with deep cultural significance, globally significant ecosystems, and unique threatened species. It holds the headwaters of the great Murray River and is an important hub for tourism and jobs – it must be protected.”