Letter to Minister Kean - Brumbies
The Hon. Matthew Kean
Minister for Energy and Environment Member for Hornsby
52 Martin Place
SYDNEY NSW 2000
Dear Minister Kean,
In March I wrote to you detailing the impact of the bushfires in the Kosciuszko National Park and subsequent loss of flora and fauna. It was confronting to see, a scar that will take years to recover from. In my region, the brumbies are cherished and there is no doubt that the population of wild horses was also significantly impacted. This is on top of the drought that also saw many horses perish and the numbers decimated.
I am writing again pleading that you reconsider the decision not to conduct an urgent survey of the horses in the Kosciuszko National Park, following the unprecedented bushfire season.
In your response you stated that the new wild horse heritage management plan would take this impact into account, however, this impact cannot be fully realised without conducting a new survey. Despite this, your department is moving ahead with plans to remove 4,000 horses. This is a course of action that is causing great distress within the local community.
As Member for Monaro, I have spoken at great length with stakeholders, residents and users of the Park about the brumbies. My community argues that the results of the aerial survey released in December 2019 were questionable. The estimate that there are 19,000 brumbies within the Park is simply not reflective of what locals know and subsequent surveys show. Adding drought and fires, it’s a figure that is just not plausible.
The Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act 2018 is an Act to recognise the cultural significance and heritage value of the brumbies within the Park, while also setting the framework for their protection and management. As members of the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government, we must honour our commitment to achieve this and ensure that we do our due diligence before going down this irreversible path. By moving ahead with the removal of wild horses from the Park without all of the facts in front of us, would be a deliberate and reckless act, one against the spirit of the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act 2018.
This year has been extremely tough for the Snowy Monaro community, who have been dealing with drought, bushfires and the ongoing impacts of COVID-19. Forging ahead with the removal of wild horses from the Park without the correct facts will bring further anxiety to a community that is trying to find a way forward.
We are committed to finding a balance between recognising the cultural and heritage value of the brumbies while also managing the environmental impacts on Kosciuszko National Park, but that goodwill is being eroded. Therefore, I seek a suspension of trapping and removal of any more horses, and that the Advisory Board be convened urgently to oversee a new survey.
John Barilaro MP
Member for Monaro
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