WHAT a topsy turvy time it is in state parliament when we have the Greens calling for a cull of wild animals, only to be blocked by the conservative government.
The Berejiklian government this week secured passage through parliament of a controversial bill to protect wild horses in the state’s largest national park, also ignoring broad protests from scientists and even a farmer responsible for relocating many of the feral animals.
The Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Bill 2018 was passed late on Wednesday night with the Liberal-Nationals Coalition gaining support from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party and the Christian Democrats.
It was a strange debate from the start.
The image of the wild, majestic brumby is etched in the Australian psyche through such works as the iconic Man From Snowy River, but that does not change the fact these are not native animals. And parliament has been warned that brumbies are damaging our national parks, while also endangering native flora and fauna.
As distressing as a mass cull of these animals would have been, protecting them at the expense of native Australian species just makes no sense.
And compare the attitude to brumbies to the attitude to kangaroos in this country.
Bathurst knows better than most regional centres that kangaroo populations are approaching record numbers while the constant march of residential subdivisions is taking away their grazing land. Those factors helped drive a large population of ’roos onto Mount Panorama where they became an unacceptable risk during race events.
The city needed a solution and council turned to the Bathurst Kangaroo Project – derisively labelled by local conservatives as loopy greenies – for assistance. They suggested a ground-breaking project that would see the kangaroos herded together before being tranquilised and relocated out of the region.
The response? One of widespread ridicule on social media platforms and in newspaper letter pages.
Kangaroos are not endangered, the argument went, so why waste the money relocating them when bullets would be a cheaper, quicker answer to the problem?
So we’re happy to kill native kangaroos but must protect feral brumbies?
That’s a dud deal for Skippy.
When it comes to native animals, it seems not all are created equal.