An appeal was heard today before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) to access key reports on the management of feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park.
The appeal, lodged by the Invasive Species Council in support of the Reclaim Kosci campaign, seeks access to the final reports developed by the independent Scientific Advisory Panel and Community Advisory Panel.
“The NSW Government must release these reports and its draft feral horse plan urgently,” Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox said.
“The time for excuses and delay has passed. The community deserves transparency from the government, and we are not getting that at the moment.”
Both reports completed in 2020 have been withheld by the NSW Government despite being requested under the state’s freedom of information laws.
“Even the scientific panel itself expected its report to be publicly released,” Mr Cox said.
The NCAT appeal comes as the NSW Government has failed to release its draft feral horse plan, promised by 30 June 2021.
“We have growing feral horse numbers in the park and they are trampling sensitive alpine ecosystems. There is currently no effective plan to control these animals in Kosciuszko.
“We haven’t taken this action lightly, but we have no choice when the NSW Government is sitting on its hands on this issue,” Mr Cox said.
“While the NSW government delays a plan to control feral horses, we see John Barilaro’s department fast-track plans to expand commercial development within Kosciuszko National Park,” NSW Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Officer Chris Gambian said.
“Kosciuszko National Park is the jewel in the NSW parks estate and nationally significant, but is under huge pressure.
“Failure to protect Kosciuszko from feral horses and over-development is nothing short of environmental vandalism,” Mr Gambian said.
A final NCAT hearing for the review is set for 22 October 2021.