The re-election of a conservative government in New South Wales sends a worrying signal to people who are concerned about climate change and the environment. They have already announced that the Office of Environment and Heritage will cease to be a ‘stand-alone independent body’ and environment issues will be absorbed into a new planning and industry department, while heritage will be moved into premier and cabinet. The Nature Conservation Council responded to this move by saying the government has ‘been at war with nature and environmental protection since it came to power in 2011’.
Reclaim Kosci, an advocacy group which is campaigning to ensure the Kosciuszko National Park is protected through tackling the number of feral horses running rampant in the park, says this issue should be the number one priority for the new energy and environment minister, Matt Kean.
The following media release comes from Reclaim Kosci.
Reining in exploding feral horse numbers should be top of Matt Kean’s to-do list
Wednesday 3 April 2019
Tackling the exploding number of feral horses running rampant in Kosciuszko National Park should be the number one priority for the newly-minted NSW energy and environment minister, Matt Kean.
“The new NSW environment minister has a unique opportunity to act on the appalling lack of feral horse management in Kosciuszko National Park,” Reclaim Kosci campaign coordinator Richard Swain said today.
“We congratulate the Liberal member for Hornsby Matt Kean on his new appointment as the state’s environment and energy minister and urge him to make real, positive environmental changes by addressing the out-of-control horse numbers in Kosciuszko National Park.
“Reining in feral horse numbers in Kosciuszko National Park needs to be at the top of Mr Kean’s to-do list.
“The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service has not undertaken any feral horse control in more than 18 months and horse numbers have continued to skyrocket in Kosciuszko National Park.
“Earlier this week the Invasive Species Council formally invited minister Matt Kean to visit Kosciuszko National Park and view the impacts of horses first-hand.
“We would like the minister to be able to witness the impacts of feral horses on our sensitive ecosystems and threatened species.”
During the NSW election campaign there was a strong call for action on feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park. A survey conducted by ABC News found that feral horses were one of the top three NSW environmental issues during the election.
“NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro made a commitment during the election campaign to immediately reduce feral horse numbers by 50 per cent,” Mr Swain said.
“As one of his first acts as the new environment minister Mr Kean should follow through on that promise and instruct the parks and wildlife service to immediately restart its horse trapping and removal program.”
More than 10,000 people have signed a petition calling on the NSW government to take action on the growing number of feral horses. It will be debated when NSW parliament resumes.
[IMAGE: from Reclaim Kosci website. Photo by Mike Edmondson].