David Pocock puts pressure on Tanya Plibersek to remove brumbies from Australian Alps

Experts say the rapid removal of many thousands of horses is required to help the ecosystem recover from grazing pressures and the damage their hooves cause to the survival of alpine plants and animals, including mountain dwarf possums, mountain skinks, northern corroboree frogs, and Sphagnum, threaten moss and bogs that provide important ecosystem services to the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers.

The number of wild horses in Kosciuszko National Park has increased by 30 percent in two years.

The number of wild horses in Kosciuszko National Park has increased by 30 percent in two years.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen.

NSW passed legislation in 2018, under pressure from then-Deputy Prime Minister John Barilaro, that protected wild horses’ “heritage values” and discouraged culling. The government has since focused on capturing the wild animals and giving them new homes, but the process is painfully slow.

Figures released by the NSW government last month show the number of wild horses has risen by 30 per cent to over 18,000 in the last two years. The government says heavy rain and flooding and a six-week lull in shooting at wildlife have caused a horse boom.

The NSW Government has taken on the challenge of reducing the growing population to 3000 horses by 30 June 2027. Many fear that this goal is impossible.

Parks Victoria surveys found that horse numbers in the Alps doubled from around 2,300 to 5,000 horses in the five years from 2014 to 2019. While up to 200 horses have been removed from the Alpine National Park every year since 2008, the numbers have not decreased.


The Council on Invasive Species welcomed the Senate investigation and urged Plibersek to use federal funds to reduce feral horse numbers as state governments warned about not reducing populations fast enough.

“Plibersek has the power under Commonwealth environmental laws to compel state governments to take more extensive and expeditious action to protect the Australian Alps, which is listed as a National Heritage Site,” said Council Advocacy Manager Jack Gough.

“This investigation has the potential to be game-changing by shedding the spotlight on the future of Australia’s alpine region and wildlife threatened by wild horses and other hard-hoofed invaders such as wild deer and pigs.”

Former German Environment Secretary Sussan Ley threatened in June 2021 to suspend NSW management of the wild horse population in Kosciuszko National Park after Barilaro dismissed the need for urgent action and claimed Ley had been misled by green activists.

A spokesman for NSW Environment Secretary James Griffin said the state is managing its wild horse populations in line with its management plan, which was developed following public consultation and approved in 2021.

The investigation is to be completed by June 9th.

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https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/pocock-urges-plibersek-to-tackle-brumbies-in-high-country-20230208-p5citk.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_politics_federal David Pocock puts pressure on Tanya Plibersek to remove brumbies from Australian Alps

Callan Tansill

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