It’s been a mammoth and hard fought battle inside government but finally brumbies have been recognised for their heritage value and have won a right to be part of Kosciuszko National Park.
In what has often been an emotive issue, the NSW Government will today recognise brumbies have a right to wander Kosciuszko National Park and that right will be protected by law.
It basically overturns a National Parks plan to cull nearly 5400 brumbies from the park. Instead areas will be monitored for environmental damage and brumbies transferred to different areas of the park where they would be considered to do less damage.
NSW Deputy Premier and regional NSW Minister 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 said the laws would prevent any killing of brumbies from the air or shot in steel traps when they are caught before removal from the park or transfer to other parts of the park.
A panel will oversee the management of the Kosciuszko brumbies and decide where and how many brumbies may need to be caught and rehomed or transferred. The new framework will be introduced into NSW Parliament this week.
Mr Barilaro’s announcement is seen as a win for common sense over some more of the radical element who wanted all wild horses taken out of the park.
“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.
The ‘Brumbies Bill’ 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, he said.
“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.”
The Government announced it will also:
- Establish a Wild Horse Advisory Panel to advise the Minister of appropriate management approaches for the brumby;
- Create a research and monitoring program that scientifically informs future wild horse management plans;
- Conduct a new 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 Minister for the Environment Gabrielle Upton has also 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 this year, when the formal consultation process and amended plans of management are complete, the Government announced.
“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
The Land has been at the forefront of covering the brumby issue, and last year revealed the push to heritage list them and recognise their cultural value. Many brumbies are descended from horses linked to the early whalers that were used at the battle of Beersheba in World War One. Recently, The Land exposed that some trapping operations were underway in the Snowies in an area where brumbies had not been trapped before near Kiandra.