Wild horse control

I rise today and direct my statement to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change.

My constituents are demanding that the minister abandon plans to remove all brumbies from the Bogong High Plains, Eastern Alps and Barmah National Park and instead manage sustainable populations through community advisory groups.

The Brumbies we see in Victoria and NSW today are thought to have originated from horses left behind when Lieutenant James Brumby was transferred from Botany Bay to Van Diemen’s Land in 1806.

During World War I many of the remounts sent over for the famous Australian Light Horse were brumbies.

In fact these animals have as good a claim to being Australian as the people in this chamber. Their Australian lineage goes back more than 200 years, and their forbears went to war for our country.

The information the minister has relied upon to reach her inhumane decision is flawed at best.

Surely, Minister, killing should always be the very last option for any modern society, and given their great Australian pedigree, surely avoidance of killing these magnificent creatures should be something we in this Parliament can all agree on.

I ask the minister if she would be as quick to order people into the highlands to shoot these proud animals if she had to be there and watch or if she thought the children of Australia would witness her handiwork.

My constituents have asked that the minister heed the 153 000-plus people that have signed a Change.org petition calling for the wild-living brumbies to be spared, and Lonergan Research found that 88 per cent of Victorians support efforts to preserve mobs of brumbies living in the wild.

My constituents are also calling on the Andrews government to support a ‘Victorian Heritage Brumby Act’ that recognises the historical, cultural and social values of heritage brumbies that have been living in the Victorian wild for more than 200 years.

In early June the Legislative Council passed a motion that called for the Andrews government to cease its plan to shoot brumbies in Victorian national parks. This was a motion that saw several of Labor’s upper house members refuse to vote.

The Victorian upper house has made it clear that it does not support the minister’s plan to shoot brumbies in Victoria’s high country.

Brumbies are an iconic part of our state’s cultural identity, and whilst maintaining biodiversity in Victoria’s parks is important, experts agree this can be achieved without slaughtering our brumbies.

Further, local people are better placed to decide upon and implement such a strategy.

High Country communities have made it clear they don’t support Labor’s plan to shoot brumbies either, and now the minister’s own upper house colleagues have refused to support her plan.

On behalf of my community, the majority of Victorians and I’m sure every Australian child, I ask the minister to immediately stop her plan from proceeding and engage with local communities to find a better solution.

I look forward to the minister’s positive and timely response.