The NSW Government says recent publicity that its brumby management policy varied greatly from Victoria are incorrect, with the same outcomes likely.
The NSW Government has been accused of ignoring scientific advice in pushing through its Kosciuszko Wild Horse Management Bill in NSW Parliament, which has given brumbies heritage status. In Victoria, the wild horses are referred to as “pests” or “ferals” with the government proposing to cull at least 1200 horses from its high country.
But a spokesperson for NSW Deputy Premier told The Land, that the policies are very similiar.
“Victoria's plan states 'Trapping will be the principal method to control the population. Shooting will not be used during the three-year plan'. Which is the same as our approach,” a spokesperson for Mr Barilaro said.
“To be clear, the NSW Government's Brumbies Bill is not about making the Brumby a protected species, it's about finding a balance to manage sensitive areas of the National Park, whilst managing the population of Brumbies without lethal culling. For this reason there is very little difference between Victoria's plan and ours.
“There has been significant debate for many years regarding the future of brumbies in the Kosciuszko National Park. The most divisive aspect of this issue has been whether or not to shoot brumbies as a way of controlling their numbers.
“The Bill acknowledges community calls for recognition of the heritage values of the brumby while at the same time, ensures these horses continue to be removed from sensitive areas of the national park and rehomed elsewhere.
“It’s important to note that the new framework does not confer protected species status on the brumby. It simply confirms that their numbers will be managed through non-lethal means. Existing programs to reduce the impact of brumbies on the National Park’s alpine environment will continue.
“The framework proposed under the Bill aligns with what Victoria proposes, in that both states have ruled out shooting as a control measure, confirmed they will reduce brumby numbers through trapping and rehoming and focus their efforts in the more sensitive areas of the alpine region.
“The Independent Technical Reference Group, which conducted the previous scientific work on brumbies, acknowledged, among other things, three key issues: that the eradication of wild horses from Kosciuszko National Park is not achievable; that any horse management plan must be socially acceptable; that passive trapping and mustering in small groups had the lowest relative impact on animal welfare.
“The NSW plan aligns with these findings.”
“The NSW Government will also establish a community advisory panel to inform future management options, a research and monitoring program to better understand horse numbers and their impact, as well as a marketing campaign to promote the re-homing and adoption of brumbies out of the Park.
“This Bill is about finding a balance to manage sensitive areas of the Kosciuszko National Park, whilst managing the population of brumbies through humane population control methods, rather than aerial and ground shooting.
“The Kosciuszko National Park is in good hands and its unique landscape, flora and fauna will continue to be protected now and into the future.”