A Federal Court ruling has left Deputy Premier John Barilaro’s signature piece of legislation, the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act 2018, on rocky ground.
Kate Washington MP, Labor Shadow Minister For Environment And Heritage said "The ruling could revive tensions in NSW’s already fractured cabinet. Environment Minister Matt Kean has clashed with the Deputy Premier on this issue on numerous occasions, including when he made his first act as Minister a visit to Kosciuszko National Park to inspect the damage caused by feral brumbies." "In 2018 Mr Barilaro changed the law to give more protection to feral horses than endangered to native animals in Kosciuszko National Park. This law restricted the ability to the National Parks and Wildlife Service to effectively manage the feral horse population."
"As a result of this bill the population of feral horses has exploded, leaving thousands of feral pests tearing up Kosciuszko National Park."
On Friday, lobby group Australian Brumby Alliance lost a long running Federal Court case against Parks Victoria, claiming that the heritage value of the brumbies had not been appropriately considered. Parks Victoria has now announced it will "recommence ground-based culling of the feral pests".
“The Federal Court of Australia has ruled that introduced feral pests do not form part of Australian Alps heritage listing," Ms Washington said. "The decision confirms that the only impediment to appropriate management of these pests in NSW is John Barilaro’s signature bill.
“The recent bushfires have increased the urgency of reducing the number of feral pests in National Parks so that native populations can survive. Barilaro’s actions have made that task harder and pushed more native species to the brink of extinction”.
“Today’s Federal Court ruling has highlighted how outrageously irresponsible the Deputy Premier has been, actively undermining the capacity of NSW’s National Parks staff to manage feral species in our internationally important Kosciuszko National Park. Thank goodness Barilaro and his environmentally reckless views aren’t headed to Canberra - he now needs to stop being a barrier in NSW," Ms Washington added
Damage caused by feral horses in the Australian alps.D Thompson and Stuart Rowland, Friends of Currango/Flickr Further reading : In May 2018 the so-called “brumby bill” was passed without amendment in the New South Wales Parliament. The controversial Coalition bill, supported by the Christian Democrats and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, means that feral horses must be kept in Kosciuszko National Park. Passing the brumby bill is a backward step for environmental protection in Australia