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Federal Feral Horse Inquiry

Independent ACT Senator David Pocock has today lodged a notice of motion in the Senate to establish a national inquiry into the impacts and management of feral horses in the Australian Alps.

The inquiry would be run through the Environment and Communications References Committee with a proposed reporting date of 9 June 2023.

The latest government survey data from NSW and VIC shows that there are more than 20,000 feral horses in the Victorian Alps and Kosciuszko National Parks. In Kosciuszko there has been a more than 30 per cent jump in numbers over the past two years.

A range of experts including Professor Don Driscoll at Deakin University, Professor David Watson at Charles Sturt University and the Invasive Species Council have documented and raised serious concerns about the adverse impacts on biodiversity from the high number of feral horses.

Senator Pocock said the senate inquiry will provide an opportunity to take a calm, evidence-based look at the challenge.

“Managing feral horse populations is a difficult and often emotionally-charged issue,” Senator Pocock said.

“We are already grappling with chronic biodiversity loss and species extinction. It’s really important that we face this challenge head on, in a constructive, considered way that prioritises the long-term ecological health of these ecosystems. 

“This inquiry is an opportunity to take a really good look at the ecological health of the Australian Alps National Parks and Reserves. It’s also a chance to examine the powers and responsibilities of the Commonwealth, states and territories as well as our international obligations.

“I am hopeful that my senate colleagues will support this inquiry and see the value it can bring in supporting the long-term health of this unique and nationally significant area of our country.”

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