Horse removal from Kosciuszko National Park has stopped for a second year in a row due to a surprise intervention by NSW deputy premier, John Barilaro.
“This represents a shameful back down for a government claiming to prioritise protection of the environment,” Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox said.
“It is now almost two years since the last horse was removed from Kosciuszko National Park.
“Horse numbers continue to breed up, undoing years of good work attempting to reduce the numbers and impacts on the national park. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service is now powerless to act.
“John Barilaro declared in the NSW Parliament on 2 June 2018 when debating the new law that protects horses in the national park that ‘trapping and rehoming programs will continue – they will not end’,” Mr Cox said.
Before the March state election, Deputy Premier Barilaro promised an ‘immediate’ 50 percent reduction in horse numbers in the park.
“Since then, all we have received from the deputy premier are lame excuses,” Mr Cox said
“This week the Invasive Species Council confirmed that horse trapping by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, which had been months in the planning and was due to being in June, has been cancelled after an extraordinary intervention by the deputy premier.
“The incoming NSW environment minister Matt Kean had taken a strong interest in the horse problem in Kosciuszko, making it his first site visit on his listening tour.
“At a meeting between minister Kean and the Invasive Species Council and Reclaim Kosci representatives, the minister confirmed that trapping and horse removal would take place this winter, just as it had every year since 2008.
“The deputy premier can no longer be believed to act to reduce horse numbers. Instead we can only expect the opposite. His direct interventions have stymied action, putting the national park at risk.
“It is now over a year since the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act became law.
“While the new law protects horses in the national park, it is yet to be implemented due to the failure to establish the community advisory panel and the lack of progress in developing a Wild Horse Management Plan that would be signed off by the environment minister.
“Kosciuszko National Park is lurching towards a crisis.
“The Berejiklian/Barilaro government is failing to protect the park’s threatened wildlife, the safety of its visitors and its priceless natural values,” Mr Cox said.
- Reclaim Kosci: Campaign coordinator Richard Swain – 0428 826 938.
- Invasive Species Council: CEO Andrew Cox – 0438 588 040.