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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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A new year, time for new campaign issues?

We still have a long hot dry summer ahead of us. And fires that threaten the mountains that we love so much. But we are also moving towards New Years Eve, when people often make their plans for the coming year.

For me a big part of my planning for the year is to lock in my backcountry trips (here’s my favourite 3 backcountry adventures). Obviously it’s good to have a long think about life, the universe and everything. And then there is activism. 

Sadly, on the activist front there will be lots to do in 2020. Here’s a few ideas on where you may want to put your shoulder to the wheel.

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NSW Parliament petition highlights government inaction on Kosci horses

The NSW government’s Wild Horse Heritage Act has undermined 75 years of protection of water and alpine species by treating wild horse populations as a cultural icon that must be protected. Now, the repeal of the Act is is being debated by the NSW parliament following the tabling of a petition of more than 12,000 signatures.

While scientists and land managers are clear in pointing out the negative impacts of the horses, the NSW government has chosen to put politics over sensible land management decision making. The original Bill was proposed by the National Party. The current debate highlights the tension in the Coalition, whereby at least some in the Liberal Party can see the dangers of allowing wild horse populations to flourish in our alpine regions. However, Deputy Premier John Barilaro used the government’s majority to vote against the petition being ‘noted’.

Continue reading “NSW Parliament petition highlights government inaction on Kosci horses”

NSW Parliament to debate the impacts of feral horses

IT’S A PARK, NOT A PADDOCK!

On Thursday August 22 the NSW Parliament will debate the impacts of feral horses on Kosciuszko National Park.

More than 12,000 people signed the petition calling for this debate and it’s now going to happen!

The Parliament will debate repealing the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act and repairing the damage caused by hard-hooved animals. Reclaim Kosci is asking people to join them on the day to show support for this parliamentary debate.

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NSW fails to remove horses from Kosciuszko National Park (again)

Like climate change, conservatives are using land management policy as another proxy battlefield in the Culture War.

This is amply demonstrated by the decision by the NSW government to legislate to protect wild horses, a feral species that causes immense damage to the High Country, on the basis of their ‘cultural’ significance. As expected, horse numbers continue to grow in the Kosciuszko National Park and threaten the ecological values of the park. While there had been high hopes that common sense would prevail when Matt Kean, was appointed as the NSW Energy and Environment Minister, attempts to reduce numbers through relocation have failed to be enacted by the state government.

Peter Hannam, writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, provides an update on the situation.

Continue reading “NSW fails to remove horses from Kosciuszko National Park (again)”

Sydney UNDERFROG documentary screening

NSW Nordic Ski Club and Reclaim Kosci are co-hosting a screening of “Underfrog” on Wednesday July 24. The night will be used to increase raise awareness of the feral horse issue in the Snowy Mountains and raise funds for Reclaim Kosci to continue their work. Everyone is welcome. Doors open at 7:00pm for a 7:30pm start. Donations are optional. The film is suitable for all ages.

Continue reading “Sydney UNDERFROG documentary screening”

‘Kosciuszko National Park is lurching towards a crisis’

Wild horse populations pose a significant threat to alpine and sub alpine areas across the Alps. However in NSW, a campaign to have the horses protected because of their ‘cultural’ status means that impacts are growing significantly within Kosciuszko National Park. Now horse removal from the park has stopped for a second year in a row because of an intervention by NSW Deputy Premier, John Barilaro.

Andrew Cox, the Invasive Species Council CEO, has called this a “shameful back-down for a government claiming to prioritise protection of the environment.”

Continue reading “‘Kosciuszko National Park is lurching towards a crisis’”

Reclaim Kosci petition ceremony at NSW parliament

The Reclaim Kosci group have been running a fantastic campaign to gain protection of the Snowy Mountains through securing removal of the large numbers of wild horses in the Kosciusko national park.

This week they will present a petition to NSW parliament calling for the Repeal the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act.

Continue reading “Reclaim Kosci petition ceremony at NSW parliament”

ACT government to consider declaring feral horses a pest

Wild horse populations are a problem right across the Alps. While there are plans to reduce numbers in Victoria, the NSW government has opted for a bizarre position that believes that ‘the cultural significance of brumbies needed to be recognised’, and hence culling in alpine national parks has been reduced. As a result, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service has not undertaken any feral horse control in alpine areas for more than 18 months. This has meant that the large existing wild horse population continues to grow, and continues to adversely impact on alpine ecosystems.

Continue reading “ACT government to consider declaring feral horses a pest”

Underfrog – a documentary about horses in Kosciuszko National Park

Feral horses damage alpine wetlands, stomp fragile waterways and threaten native wildlife and yet the NSW Government created a law last year giving feral horses heritage protection in Kosciuszko National Park, overriding the legal protection provided to the native plants and animals of the national park.

Reclaim Kosci and the ANU environment collective are hosting the ACT premier of the Underfrog documentary in a night about the feral horses issue in Kosciuszko National Park.

This Saturday May 11, in Canberra.

Continue reading “Underfrog – a documentary about horses in Kosciuszko National Park”

Feral horse numbers ‘skyrocketing’ in Kosciuszko National Park

The long debate over feral horses in alpine areas was derailed by a decision taken by the NSW government to protect rather than limit wild horse populations in Kosciuszko National Park. It was clear that this would lead to greater environmental damage in precious alpine areas.  Now Freedom of Information documents show that horse numbers have ‘risen dramatically’ since all horse control was halted in the park 20 months ago.

Continue reading “Feral horse numbers ‘skyrocketing’ in Kosciuszko National Park”

“Reining in feral horse numbers should be top of Matt Kean’s to-do list”

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.

Continue reading ““Reining in feral horse numbers should be top of Matt Kean’s to-do list””

NSW’s inaction on horses causing problems in ACT

Have you ever lived next to a bad neighbour who doesn’t care how their actions impacts on you? If so, then you probably know how Victoria and the ACT feel about NSW’s unwillingness to control the herds of wild horses that range in the Snowy Mountains.

The enormous environmental impacts of wild horses are widely documented. In spite of this, the NSW government has aligned itself with the ‘brumby lobby’, which wants to keep wild horses in the Kosciuszko national park for ‘cultural reasons’. They have legislated to protect the horses from culling. Given that there is no fence between the mountains in NSW and adjoining states, this negligence is impacting Victoria and the ACT.

Continue reading “NSW’s inaction on horses causing problems in ACT”

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