Kosciuszko National Park is NSW’s biggest. It’s an area of extraordinary beauty and ecological significance, protecting rare alpine ecosystems that cover just 0.001% of the Australian continent. 

It is home to many threatened animals like the Northern Corroboree Frog, Southern Corroboree Frog, Alpine Water Skink, Alpine Spiny Crayfish, Alpine She-oak Skink and Alpine Tree Frog along with myriad native plants.

Australia’s greatest river, the Murray, rises in Kosciuszko, as do the Snowy and Murrumbidgee. Together with the Darling, the Murray and Murrumbidgee are the life blood of inland Australia. Back in 1955, Riverina farmers were horrified by the impacts heavy, hard hooved animals—cattle—were having on water catchments, and this led to the removal of grazing in 1969.

Yet apparently none of this matters in our brave new world where science and the common good are discarded for  political gain.

On 6th June 2018, the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Bill 2018, was passed by the Legislative Council meaning that the legislation is effectively set to become law. Protecting the feral horses that   inhabit nearly 50% of Kosciuszko will lock in negative impacts to Australian native alpine species, ecosystems and water catchments.

The NSW Coalition Government has undermined its own NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee which at the end of April issued a preliminary determination for consultation supporting the listing of habitat degradation and loss by feral horses as a key threatening process under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

This led to the prompt resignation of Professor Dave Watson from the NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee who stated in his resignation letter “The wilful disregard that you and your government colleagues have for science diminishes our collective future, relegating our precious national parks and priceless environment to political playthings”.

The legislation values an introduced species over threatened native species and undermines the National Parks and Wildlife Act, the Kosciuszko National Park Plan of Management and existing advisory mechanisms.

The decision to introduce the legislation has effectively destroyed the painstaking consultation undertaken by the National Parks and Wildlife Service since 2013 to develop the Wild Horse Management Plan in favour of a small, vociferous and well-connected lobby group over the public interest.

NPA strongly believes that:

  • the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Bill 2018 should be abandoned before it is commenced;

and

  • the 2016 Wild Horse Management Plan should be implemented without further delay as a first step in managing feral horses.

Only in this way can we start to manage the wide-scale destruction by feral horses of this much loved National Heritage listed park.

NPA will continue campaigning to repeal this irresponsible legislation and protect Kosciuszko National Park’s unique alpine and high-country ecosystems and native wildlife. 

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Further Reading

NPA and the 2016 Wild Horse Management Plan