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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 19 September 2018) . . Page.. 3816 ..

financial implications for the ACT if feral horses were not controlled in New South Wales, with the costs of managing feral horse incursions into Namadgi, from Kosciuszko expected to rise in future years.

The ACT government has not been sitting on its hands. Since the introduction of this legislation I have written to both the Deputy Premier of New South Wales, the Hon. John Barilaro MP, and the New South Wales Minister for the Environment, the Hon. Gabrielle Upton, expressing my concerns about the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Bill and the threat it poses to the ecological communities of Namadgi National Park and the quality of Canberra’s water supply.

I have asked directorate officials to advise me further regarding the possible application of the commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, particularly given the potential for the degradation of the northern corroboree frog habitat from feral horse incursions from New South Wales.

The ACT Scientific Committee, the statutory body that advises me on matters in relation to nature conservation, has also expressed grave concerns regarding the impact of the bill and wrote in support of the New South Wales Threatened Species Scientific Committee who had proposed to list habitat degradation and loss by feral horses as a key threatening process in New South Wales.

The move by New South Wales to restrict the control of feral horses puts it at odds with every other jurisdiction in Australia and internationally. The primary objective of the International Union for Conservation of Nature—or IUCN—for national parks is to protect natural biodiversity, along with its underlying ecological structure and supporting environmental processes, and to promote education and recreation.

Although there may be some cultural aspects of horses in protected areas, these are not compatible with the need to protect large-scale ecological processes and the species and ecosystems characteristic of our national parks and with the thousands of years of Aboriginal culture that valued the integrity of the mountains and plants and animals that live there. Where is the concern for the impact of feral horses on Aboriginal culture that can show an unbroken link to the mountains for tens of thousands of years?

Despite the reckless action of the New South Wales government to protect the feral horses in Kosciuszko—actions akin to pirates on the high sea, “Arrgh, me hearties, let’s just stuff the science”—the ACT will continue to work cooperatively with the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service to prevent the feral horses establishing in our territory’s subalpine environments.

I do need to quickly talk about Ms Lee’s comments earlier. I find it extraordinary that the shadow minister for the environment would protect the bad decisions of the New South Wales government over protecting the environment of the ACT. She has failed to stand up for the territory. Since the announcement by New South Wales I do not think we have heard the shadow minister criticise the actions of her Liberal colleagues across the border.

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