On 9 February 2023, the Senate referred the impacts and management of the free-roaming horses, we call "Brumbies", in the Australian Alps for inquiry and report by 9 June 2023.
Brumbies are introduced free-roaming horses that have existed in Australia since European invasion. Brumbies are sentient animals that are worthy of protection, yet they have also attracted controversy due to competition with native animals and the potential for environmental damage, particularly in sensitive alpine areas.
This Parliamentary Inquiry presents an opportunity to discuss the future of brumbies in alpine areas and to make recommendations. The Inquiry is broad, looking at all aspects of management, so this is not just about ‘kill or don’t kill’, it will consider the relevant state laws, the ecological and cultural management of the environment where brumbies live and also allows you to tell your story or describe your experience with brumbies.
Lethal control (killing/culling) is currently favoured by Government agencies such as Agriculture Victoria, Parks Victoria and the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action, who are responsible for the ‘management’ of introduced species’. The greatest issue is that non-lethal approaches are not even being considered. The current arguments against them are ‘too expensive’, ‘too difficult’, ‘not enough evidence’, yet if no resources are diverted to further research, then we’ll never know if these measures could work practically.
This is your opportunity to advocate for funding and consideration of more humane methods of controlling brumby populations. Given that existing strategies have only had short-term and localised impacts while being the default solutions over many years, the impact of non-lethal strategies is likely to take more time to become effective. Consequently, it is important that we adopt a longer-term view toward population control of introduced species.
The Consultation closes on Friday 28th April 2023
How can you contribute?
Step 1 - Review the Terms of Reference for the Inquiry
Step 2 - Read our Submission Guide and draft a response to the plan
Step 3 - Lodge your submission via Parliament's Online Submission Portal
How to make a Submission
If you have not used the Parliamentary portal before, you will be required to create a login. Otherwise, please use your pre-existing login. You will be required to complete a few steps before you can upload your submission. We have detailed these in our Guide.
What makes a good submission?
We’ve crafted a Submission Guide to help form your response to the proposed plan. Remember that a good submission is one that’s:
- Easy to read
- Not copied and pasted - write it in your own words!
- Researched (with credible sources referenced, if possible)
- Structured and formatted well, if longer
If you're short on time, even a few sentences will help to get the message across. Focus on the basics:
- Shooting is ineffective – the population will adapt to the loss
- Alternative suggestions: immunocontraception, increased funding for brumby sanctuaries and rehoming programs
- Using a variety of non-lethal alternatives
Ideas on How to Respond
There are 5 areas that the consultation asks you to comment on. You may choose to discuss as many of them as you would like (although #2 and #3 may require more specialised knowledge), OR you may focus on a particular topic or area that you are more passionate or knowledgeable about.
- Discuss the impacts of brumbies on biodiversity, ecology, Indigenous cultural heritage and the Murray, Murrumbidgee, Snowy and Cotter River’s headwaters. Identify the best practice methods to decrease the population of brumbies (in order to minimise these impacts in future).
- What are the Commonwealth’s responsibilities and what powers do they have to act on brumbies? This includes considering their rights and responsibilities under the EPBC Act 1999, as well as International treaties.
- How do State and Territory laws interact with Commonwealth law, and how adequate are they at managing brumby populations?
- How can we repair and restore the environmental impact of brumbies in the Australian Alps? Especially with regard to impacts on known threatened species.
- An opportunity to add any other points you would like them to consider. (This is your opportunity to include a personal experience or anything you believe is relevant to this inquiry that’s not covered in the areas above).
Our submission guide goes into further detail on these points. Download it below!
Please reach out to Nat Kopas if you have any questions or would like to discuss this further: [email protected]