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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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land management

Poll shows Eden-Monaro voters want action on feral horses

A new poll of Eden-Monaro voters released today has found that most people want feral horses removed from Kosciuszko National Park, where horse numbers have tripled in the past five years.

Ahead of the July 4 by-election, an independent poll asked 643 Eden-Monaro voters what should be done about feral horses, which are devastating Kosciuszko National Park’s unique plants and animals and destroying its once pristine waterways.

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Environmental issues in the Eden Monaro byelection

The long debate over how to handle populations of wild horses in the Australian Alps continues. While Victoria waits for the outcome to an appeal to a Supreme Court case about Park Victoria’s plan to start culling horses, the issue has come into sharp focus in NSW because of the byelection in the Eden Monaro electorate. The group Reclaim Kosci, which is campaigning to have horses removed from the Kosciuszko National Park has said “If candidates for the Eden-Monaro by-election want to prove they care for the environment, they need to call for action to protect the electorate’s iconic Kosciuszko National Park.”

“Tourism, jobs, catchments, Indigenous heritage, motorist and camper safety, and wildlife are under serious threat.”
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What’s happening with the wild horse cull in Victoria?

Recently, the Australian Brumby Alliance (ABA) lost a long-running Federal Court case against Parks Victoria. The ABA had objected to plans to cull feral horses in the Victorian Alps. Parks Victoria will now begin culling horses in the alps, where horse numbers have soared over the past five years. The biggest herds of wild horses are in NSW’s Kosciuszko National Park. However, due to NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro, wild horses enjoy heritage protection in that state, and they continually move across the border into Victoria and boost numbers there.

What has happened since then?

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The Federal Court has dismissed heritage claims for feral horses across Victoria’s Alpine National Park

In a significant outcome, The Australian Brumby Alliance (ABA) has lost a long-running Federal Court case against Parks Victoria. The ABA had objected to plans to cull feral horses in the Victorian Alps. Parks Victoria will now begin culling horses in the alps, where horse numbers have soared over the past five years.

Continue reading “The Federal Court has dismissed heritage claims for feral horses across Victoria’s Alpine National Park”

A 170 km long firebreak in East Gippsland?

The ABC is reporting that ‘fire-affected communities in eastern Victoria are calling for a permanent firebreak running 170 kilometres along both sides of the Princes Highway to the New South Wales border’.

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A remote area firefighting force for Victoria

For the last few months I have been talking with various land managers and career and volunteer firefighters about whether Victoria should establish a remote area firefighting capacity of volunteer fire fighters.

NSW has such a force: the Rural Fire Service (RFS) has Remote Area Fire Teams, with around 500 active volunteer firefighters.

It is clear climate change will make fire seasons more intense and will also lead to an increase in ‘dry lightning’ strikes, which will increase the number of wildfires. The value of the NSW model is shown by the effectiveness of their teams in stopping small fires becoming blazes: for instance, in the 2018/19 fire season the Rapid Aerial Response Teams responded to 77 incidents, and were able to keep 90 percent of the fires they attended contained to less than 10 hectares in size.

I think we should create a similar group in Victoria.

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How to make a submission to the Inquiry into Victoria’s fires

On 14 January 2020 the Andrews government announced an independent inquiry into the 2019-2020 Victorian fire season would be conducted by the Inspector-General for Emergency Management (IGEM).

Through this Inquiry, IGEM will ‘examine Victoria’s preparedness for the fire season, response to fires in large parts of Victoria’s North East, Gippsland, and Alpine regions, and will review relief and recovery efforts’.

There is still time to make a submission to this process.

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‘Australia’s Environment Report’ identifies impacts on alpine areas

The annual Australia’s Environment Report summarises a large number of observations on the trajectory of our natural resources and ecosystems. It is prepared by the Centre for Water and Landscape Dynamics at the Australian National University (ANU).

As part of their report for 2019, they prepared an assessment of alpine areas. With hot weather, terrible fires, and dry conditions we already know how bad summer was for the mountains. This report quantifies some of the impacts.

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Malbena Rally: Rewild Launceston!

The long campaign against commercial tourist developments in national parks and World Heritage Areas continues.

A flash point  in this campaign is the ‘eco tourism’ development planned for Lake Malbena will introduce ‘helicopter tourism’ to the central plateau of Tasmania. Approvals have been ‘waved through’ by the federal government, and then been bogged down in legal processes.

To highlight opposition to ‘helicopter tourism’, The Wilderness Society and Walkers and Fishers Against Helicopter Access Tasmania have organised a rally in Launceston on Sunday April 5.

Continue reading “Malbena Rally: Rewild Launceston!”

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