Today a new NSW Parliament e-petition was launched that will give Kosciuszko National Park supporters another chance to urge action on out-of-control feral horse numbers.
“The future of Kosciuszko National Park is under threat from unmanaged horse populations and a law that gives priority to horses ahead of its native wildlife,” Reclaim Kosci campaigner Candice Bartlett said.
“Since the last horse petition was presented to the NSW Parliament in August 2019 the park remains without a horse management plan and the horse population in Kosciuszko National Park has continued to grow.”
The horse population, estimated at about 20,000, was largely unaffected by the devastating summer bushfires and just 300 horses have been removed in that time.
Independent state member for Wagga Wagga, Dr Joe McGirr, whose electorate takes in the area with the largest number of feral horses, the northern end of the national park, is sponsoring the petition.
“I’m willing to support the e-petition because it will highlight an important issue for my electorate and for Kosciuszko National Park that the NSW Government is failing to resolve,” Dr McGirr said.
If the petition reaches 20,000 e-signatures it will automatically trigger debate in the NSW Legislative Assembly.
The previous petition, signed by more than 12,000 people, was voted down by government MPs in the state’s lower house last year despite the time-honoured Westminster tradition of allowing petitions from all constituents to be tabled and noted.
Led by the Member for Monaro, John Barilaro, the NSW coalition government used its numbers to block a move to have the petition noted.
“This was insulting and disrespectful,” Ms Bartlett said.
“The Parliamentary Library confirmed that since the mechanism for the automatic debate of petitions was introduced in 2019, this was the first time the house voted against the ‘noting’ of a petition.
“As an independent, Dr McGirr is to be commended for playing a role in helping to restore democratic traditions and conventions the NSW Parliament inherited from Westminster.”
The e-petition system was recently introduced to allow constituents to make representations direct to the parliament. Any resident of NSW or visitor to Kosciuszko National Park can sign the e-petition.