Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Environment group urges Carr Government to stand firm in face of Australia Day horse rider threats

The Colong Foundation for Wilderness today urged the Carr government to stand firm on its commitment to a transparent review of the Kosciuszko Plan of Management in the face of threats of horseriders staging protests in the Park on Australia Day and later a possible march on Macquarie Street.

"The management review of the state's largest national park is in it's second year and will be released for public comment in the next few months. The ski industry has already walked out of the process and the Foundation is concerned that decisions relating to recreational use may already be reversed, due to political expediency rather than following independent scientific advice", said Fiona McCrossin, Assistant Director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

"The review of the Plan of Management for Kosciuszko National Park should not be about disputes over the rights of access. It must ensure that the Park is able to complete its primary function, the protection of some of the last remnants of Australia's bush." said McCrossin.

"Most of our national parks were set aside after hard won battles between groups of Australians who wanted an area of bush and its wildlife protected and those who wanted to continue to exploit it; for timber, minerals, grazing, even brumby running."

"Cries from access groups that their rights are being denied ignores the big picture. National parks make up only 7% of NSW. This means that 93% of NSW is open to access and use, not bound by the conservation and protection laws that govern wilderness and national parks." 

"High impact recreation can take place out of national parks. Groups have the right to use millions of hectares of State Forests and to pay for the use of private land."

"The Colong Foundation hopes that on this Australia Day, our government stands firm on the principles and laws of national park and wilderness management, principles that go far beyond the exaggerated threat of a thousand horses being ridden down Macquarie Street," concluded Ms McCrossin.

For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 9550 3615 (ah)