Labor has slammed the state government’s plans to prohibit the culling of brumbies in the Kosciuszko National Park.
On Tuesday, shadow environment minister Penny Sharpe and Country Labor candidate for Monaro Bryce Wilson announced they stood with “scientists, tourism operators, anglers, environmentalists and land rehabilitation groups” to oppose the Berejiklian-Barilaro Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Bill.
Earlier this month NSW deputy premier John Barilaro stated his intention to introduce legislation to parliament recognising the "heritage value" of the brumbies.
“This bill from the deputy premier undermines one of the most unique and celebrated alpine national parks in the world as well as having the potential to damage tourism and jobs in the region,” Ms Sharpe said.
“After eight years of ignoring the growing population and the damage the horses are doing to the park, it is clear that this bill will make the problem worse, not better.”
Labor will vote against the bill and if it is passed plans to repeal it if elected next year.
“We acknowledge the cultural and tourism value of the wild horses, but we must also acknowledge the science that tells us of the damage being caused,” Mr Wilson said.
“Damage that is threatening the unique ecosystem of the park – there is simply too much at stake to risk the benefits the park brings to our region for tourism and employment.”
Established in 1944 by Labor Premier Bill McKell, Kosciuszko National Park is the most visited national park in NSW outside the Greater Sydney region with over two million visits each year.
The park’s environment is home to rare and threatened species such as the mountain pygmy possum, the southern corroboree frog and the broad-toothed rat as well as 21 species of flowering plants that are found nowhere else on earth.
The peatland soils are unique, as are the alpine and subalpine bog and wetland catchments which help to supply high-quality water to the Murray-Darling Basin.
“This bill represents the greatest conservation threat in 75 years to one of the great national parks of Australia and the world, and a threat to one of the most sensitive, important and economically valuable water catchments of Australia,” Australian National University’s Associate Professor Graeme Worboys said.
“It would lead to destruction of Kosciuszko National Park as we know it today.”