Reclaim Kosci congratulates NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian for standing firm to protect koalas from attacks by Deputy Premier John Barilaro and his National Party. Now the Premier needs to stand up and save Kosciuszko National Park.

“The Premier’s action in standing up for the koalas was a clear indication that the people of New South Wales will not stand for the destruction of habitat which is home to an iconic Australian species,” Reclaim Kosci campaigner Candice Bartlett said.

“It is now time to apply the same logic to Kosciuszko National Park – an iconic Australian landscape where 34 unique plants and animals are threatened by the destructive hooves of introduced, non-native horses.

“Mr Barilaro’s attitude towards koalas is no different to his contempt for native plants and animal habitats that are being trampled and destroyed by thousands of horses in Kosciuszko National Park.

“But it is even worse. The National Party claims to represent farmers. What farmer would want a national park to be compelled to harbour a feral animal?

“We know that John Barilaro’s local constituents do not support his law. Before the recent Eden-Monaro by-election, polling showed that 80 percent of voters want horses to be managed properly in Kosciuszko.”

In the Eden Monaro by-election, the National Party was outpolled by the 6.5 per cent informal vote and only just outpolled the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate, a group the National Party is supposed to represent.

“John Barilaro was the architect of the destructive 2018 Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act, the only law in Australian history which protects a feral species in a national park, prioritising it over the native species which parks exist to protect.

“Following today’s events, the Premier must now move swiftly to repeal the 2018 wild horse protection legislation.

“This is also an ideal moment for NSW environment minister Matt Kean to finalise a wild horse management plan. In the four years since the last plan was ditched thanks to John Barilaro, the feral horse crisis in Kosciuszko has only escalated.

“This is now the opportunity to reset the policy on feral horses and save our precious Kosciuszko – a part of Australia which is every bit as iconic as koalas,” said Ms Bartlett.