New steward for Australian Alps

For the next three years, the Australian Alps will be under the stewardship of the ACT Parks and Conservation Services, as part of a cross border management program.

Famous for ski fields and diverse alpine landscapes, Australia’s Alps comprise the Namadgi (ACT), Kosciuszko (NSW) and Alpine (Victoria) national parks. This unique positioning across two states and a territory led to the establishment of the internationally recognised Australian Alps National Parks Cooperative Management Program over three decades ago.

“In its thirtieth year, the program is built on a spirit of cooperation between agencies and the adoption of best practices in park management,” ACT Minister for Planning and Land Management, Mick Gentleman said.

“The program rotation every three years is in keeping with established practice amongst the participating agencies. It also offers an opportunity to actively participate in various Alps reference groups, workshops, and various scientific and operational projects, which continue to assist Alps park agencies in managing this bioregion.”

Minister Gentleman suggests the ACT stewardship will provide an opportunity to tackle current issues facing the Australian Alps.

“An example of the Alps Program is highlighted by recent assistance to NSW Parks colleagues to undertake a detailed analysis of wild horse populations within the Kosciuszko National Park. This work informed the development of the park’s wild horse management plan,” he said.

The Kosciuszko National Park  Horse Management Plan was established  by the NSW Government to curb overpopulation of wild horses – known as brumbies – in the Snowy Mountains, aiming to reduce numbers from 6000 to 600.

As an introduced species, brumbies cause damage to fragile alpine and sub-alpine environments.

NSW Environment Minister Mark Speakman argues that populations “unsustainable”, and while opponents agree numbers must be controlled, they have criticised “inhumane” shooting practices.

“I am sure that leading the Alps program for the next three years will offer ACT Parks and Conservation Services staff greater opportunities for collaboration and learning that will help protect the beautiful and amazing Australian Alps and in turn benefit Canberra,” Minister Gentleman said.

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