On 6th June 2018, the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act 2018, was passed by the NSW Parliament. 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.
On 8 November, esteemed scientists presented overwhelming evidence of the damage feral horses are causing to the biodiversity values of Kosciuszko National Park at a conference in Canberra. The abstracts for the conference have been published and can be downloaded here.
The final determination of the NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee to list habitat degradation and loss be feral horses as a key threatening process was gazetted on 30 November 2018. The final determination can be downloaded here.
NPA strongly believes that:
- the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act 2018 should be immediately repealed;
- 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 the 6000+ 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.
A copy of a fact sheet on feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park can be found here.
If you would like to get involved or stay up to date with this campaign, visit the Reclaim Kosci campaign website