The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has called on Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg to intervene to protect Australia’s alpine wilderness from feral horses following the NSW Government’s dangerous decision to protect the invasive species.
ACF policy analyst, James Trezise, said Minister Frydenberg had an obligation under national environment law to protect areas of national importance, including the national heritage-listed Australian Alps National Parks and Reserves.
Mr Trezise said the NSW bill to give feral horses protection in the Kosciuszko National Park directly threatens the health and values of the national heritage area, along with the threatened species that call it home, and should spark immediate federal intervention.
Mr Trezise said one option open to Minister Frydenberg is to fast-track a threat abatement plan under national environment law to stop damage from feral horses.
Minister Frydenberg should also insist on federal oversight of any NSW management decisions resulting from the bill that would increase stocking of feral horses, or any management decision that would significantly impact the heritage values or threatened species and ecosystems of Kosciuszko National Park.
“Australia’s alpine wilderness is of critical importance to our country. It is nationally protected because of its stunning and unique environmental values, which are under threat from the damage caused by feral horses,” Mr Trezise said.
“Federal governments have intervened in the past under national environment law to protect Australia’s alpine wilderness from threatening practices like cattle grazing.
“We are deeply concerned Minister Frydenberg appears not to be heeding advice from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the Australian Academy of Science, and members of the NSW Government’s own threatened species committee about the damage feral horses are doing to our alpine wilderness.
“This sorry case is another clear example why Australia needs stronger national environment laws that actually protect nature. A good place to start would be the introduction of a trigger that automatically sparks a national review of any action threatening the health of a national park.”
ACF’s briefing paper on the federal implications of the NSW Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Bill 2018 can be found here.