NSW Deputy Premier, Minister for Regional NSW and Member for Monaro John Barilaro today announced the NSW Government has approved new legislation that will recognise and protect the heritage value and cultural significance of the Snowy Mountains brumby.
Mr Barilaro made the announcement at Currango Plains in the Kosciuszko National Park this morning.
Mr Barilaro said the new laws will finally end years of speculation around the culling of one of Australia’s national icons.
“Wild brumbies have been roaming the Australian alps for almost 200 years and are part of the cultural fabric and folklore of the high country,” Mr Barilaro said.
“Next week the Minister for the Environment and I will introduce a Bill into the NSW Parliament that will recognise the heritage value of the brumby in Kosciuszko National Park and set a framework for protecting it,” he said.
Dubbed the ‘Brumbies Bill’, the new laws will require the Minister for the Environment to prepare a heritage management plan for the brumby, which will identify areas within the Kosciuszko National Park where populations will be maintained, and set rules around brumby management.
“The heritage management plan will specifically prohibit lethal culling of the brumby, aerial or otherwise, and will identify those areas in the park where brumbies can roam without causing significant environmental harm,” Mr Barilaro said.
“If brumbies are found in highly-sensitive alpine areas of Kosciuszko National Park, resources will be allocated towards relocation first, followed by re-homing, should population numbers grow too high.
“I have always opposed cruel forms of culling and have advocated for non-lethal ways of managing brumby numbers.
“Kosciuszko National Park exists to protect the unique environment of the Snowy Mountains, and that unique environment includes wild brumbies,” he said.
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The legislation will also require all future plans of management for Kosciuszko National Park to recognise the cultural significance of the brumby.
Other changes to be made to the management of brumbies in Kosciuszko National Park will include:
The establishment of a Wild Horse Community Advisory Panel to advise the Minister of appropriate management approaches for the brumby;
A research and monitoring program that scientifically informs future wild horse management plans;
A brumby count to gain a more accurate assessment of brumby numbers and where they range; and
A marketing campaign to promote re-homing and adoption of brumbies that need to be removed from the park.
The NSW Government will introduce a Bill to recognise and protect the heritage value of the brumby into the NSW Parliament during the final sitting week in May 2018.
In addition to the Bill, the Minister for the Environment has approved horse riding in four national parks - Kosciuszko, Deua, Monga, and Mummel Gulf - following a two-year comprehensive trial and monitoring, which showed horse riding caused minimal impacts where it occurred. Final arrangements should be ready by December 2018 when the formal consultation process and amended plans of management are complete.
“I thank the community for its patience during the trial which ran from April 2014 to April 2016, and am pleased the study found the environmental impacts of the horse riding – which has been carried out on set tracks for years – were minimal,” Mr Barilaro said.