Government must step in after Barilaro breaks ranks on feral horse promise

NSW environment minister Matt Kean must take full control of feral horse management in Kosciuszko National Park after deputy premier John Barilaro reneged on his promise to immediately reduce numbers by half.

“Mr Barilaro’s pre-election promise to immediately reduce feral horse numbers in Kosciuszko National Park was clearly nothing more than a vote-grabbing tactic,” Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox said today.

“NSW environment minister Matt Kean must now step in and implement his government’s pre-election promise to immediately reduce feral horse numbers in Kosciuszko National Park by half.”

On Friday 1 March 2019, Mr Barilaro told a Jindabyne candidates forum he wants an ‘immediate’ reduction of horse numbers by 50 per cent. It is being reported today he has now put that target on hold.

Richard Swain, campaign coordinator with Reclaim Kosci, warned Kosciuszko was suffering because of government inaction on feral horses.

“Kosciuszko National Park and the threatened species it protects have suffered from government inaction after feral horse control stopped 20 months ago,” he said.

“Horse numbers in Kosciuszko have been rising and will continue to increase until urgent action is taken. While Mr Barilaro continues to make excuses the problem only becomes bigger and horse destruction in the park worse.

“Feral horses need to be managed, and doing nothing is nothing short of environmental vandalism,” he said.

The Invasive Species Council and Reclaim Kosci are now calling on the new NSW environment and energy minister Matt Kean, minister for planning and public spaces Rob Stokes and premier Gladys Berejiklian to take urgent action and protect the state’s largest national park from feral horses.

“Environment minister Matt Kean needs to step up and take back management of the park from Mr Barilaro,” Mr Cox said.

“Horse numbers are rising, and doing nothing while a horse count is finalised will make future reductions in horse numbers even harder.

“Mr Kean must immediately restart the feral horse trapping program and ease feral horse destruction on Kosciuszko’s precious threatened species and habitat.”

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Reclaim Kosci

The Invasive Species Council is fighting back against the failure to protect Kosciuszko National Park from feral horses and is the lead organisation behind Reclaim Kosci, which is:

  • Raising awareness about the impacts of feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park.
  • Championing the campaign to repeal the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act 2018.
  • Seeking a substantial reduction in the feral horse population in Kosciuszko National Park through humane and effective means.

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