The ACT government has seized on the recent resignation of former deputy premier John Barilaro to apply further pressure to the NSW government over the tumultuous cross-border issue of managing the growing number of wild, feral horses in the Kosciuszko National Park.
"Just as Mr Barilaro has been consigned to history, so too must his Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act 2018," the ACT Minister for Land Management Mick Gentleman said.
"NSW needs to align its approach to the ACT, to ensure consistent approach across this important ecosystem."
The porous subalpine border region between NSW and the ACT, with wild horses inside the park able to roam between the jurisdictions with impunity, has always been a sore point between the ACT and NSW, where differing management attitudes toward the animals has prevailed.
Last month the NSW government struck a compromise by proposing to allow wild horses to remain in around one-third of the Kosciuszko National Park under a new draft plan. The proposed compromise strategy is in keeping with Mr Barilaro's view on the issue.
NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean described the plan as striking "the right balance between protecting the fragile alpine ecosystems and recognising the cultural heritage values of the wild horses".
But the ACT government has a zero tolerance attitude on the issue, fiercely maintaining that the animals don't belong there and are destructive to the ACT's fragile upper south-western water catchment.
ACT Environment Minister Minister Rebecca Vassarotti said horses in the Australian Alps were "a significant threat to both biodiversity and sensitive subalpine wetlands in [the] Namadgi".
"They cause damage to our environment, including trampling and pugging sensitive bog and fen environments and eating native plants," she said.
Under the NSW draft plan, the current wild horse population of the park - last year estimated at just under 15,000, although the accuracy of the count is disputed by brumby advocates - is to be culled or rehomed so as to achieve a population target of 3000 by June 30, 2027.
Three broad zones are proposed with the horses permitted in 32 per cent of the national park, 47 per cent of the park to be kept free of the horses, and the animals to be removed from the remaining 21 per cent.
The issue of wild horses within the national park has been a contentious one for decades, with groups like the Australian Brumby Alliance maintaining that the horses should have dedicated areas within the park where they can remain.
Community feedback on the draft NSW plan closed this week with a submissions report now being prepared for the NSW minister.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: