Report Leave Tumut Brumby Protection Community Dumbfounded

10 Aug

“The Straight Talk promise is clear and consistent: we ensure community members have their say and are heard. No matter what is said, our clients hear every voice, so they know where they stand”

So why did the community members at the June 25 meeting feel the client (National Parks) presented a listless token presence while two facilitator, obviously without knowledge or research of the brumby, fielded question way above their capabilities ?

Straight Talk is a boutique consultancy specialising in leading practice community engagement, stakeholder management and communication services.

So who are these people, take a look – – far from independent assessors being government contractors which beggars the question, ” what were their taxpayer funded fees”?


The Documentstraight-talk-logo

Wild Horse Management Plan Review Stakeholder
Meeting – 25 June 2014
28 July 2014

1 Introduction

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is currently reviewing its Wild Horse Management
Plan for the Kosciuszko National Park. Straight Talk has been engaged by NPWS to work with it on
this project and undertake a range of stakeholder and community engagement activities to feed into
the review.

To that end, NPWS and Straight Talk invited stakeholders with an interest in the review of the Wild
Horse Management Plan to attend a two hour meeting on Wednesday 25 June 2014 in Tumut.

The purpose of the meeting was to hear and capture initial stakeholder views about the
management of wild horses in the Kosciuszko National Park and understand the best way to engage
with them and their constituents over the coming months.

This record details the key discussion points made at the meeting by stakeholders and the agreed
next steps.


2 Key discussion points

  •   Lots of history around brumbies – believe we were conned with first horse plan to remove
    only 17 horses, then another plan to exclude horses from parts of the park – what does
    exclusion mean – but eradication? No target figures about how many to remove, learn from
    NPWS they are not taking enough out but don’t know what the target number was
  •   Understand pest management plans, isn’t it about eradication? Are you going to establish a
    sustainable number of horses, rabbits etc?
  •   Would be more comfortable if we rid eradication from the discussion – there are 5 plans that
    say NIL horses – this plan didn’t have those words because of us – have a feeling there are
    anti-brumby/horse NPWS who want to get rid of all horses
  •   What is the end objective of the plan?
  • Want the brumby recognised and protected (it’s not a feral animal)
  • Why is there a horse management plan from 2000 when they have been in the park for 160
    years – they weren’t an issues, it’s because of NPWS mismanagement
  •   Previously people used to get brumbies, numbers have increased because of controls
    breeding in exclusion zones
  • Hasn’t the environment changed in that time – bushfires, floods etc – lots of other animals
    having an impact (i.e. pigs’ poo in waterholes is  a big health issue) – aerial culling is a really
    scary thing
  •   Parks have created this problem themselves, stopping people taking horses, controlling
  •   From 2008 management plan – steering committee – doesn’t say anything about sustainable
    numbers, my group thinks this is about exterminating horses – we will consult if there is trust
    with Straight Talk and NPWS, if not it is ‘head butt’ zone – want to sit down to green-fields
  •   Originally removed horses form wilderness, then other areas, it’s all about numbers
  •   KNP – not one thing about horses in the plan, nothing about the value of horses in the plan
  • P28 of management plan is about measuring and how it will be monitored, assessment of its
    effectiveness and how can you develop a new plan without this being assessed. Have the
    assessments been made available? – need to see this before moving forward, need to see
    evidence base
  •   Saying the plan isn’t working but survey results aren’t known, how do you know the plan isn’t
  •   TRG – from bush users group can’t sit behind the microscope – we all love the bush, we want
    to keep it for our kids – there is knowledge in this room and don’t want to pay consultants
    when the knowledge is in this backyard
  •   We are relying on NPWS and their paid scientists to do their  job/right thing
  •   Passionate about bush, history, heritage
  •   Credibility of evidence has to be addressed before we move forward – scientists have pre-
    determined views (spreading seeds etc), media has so much influence
  •   More sphagnum bogs destroyed by the fires than would have been destroyed by horses –
    opponents (ABC, NPWS, NPA) – all funded by government
  •   With TRG have a representative from each interest group?
  •   Is the aerial survey result peer reviewed?
  •   TRG sounds great but it’s one sided – you are determined to do what you want to do – there
    are feral animals on my land, why aren’t NPWS doing something about them, why are they
    picking on horses?
  •   Won’t get the answer from scientists, will get the answer from having all of us involved
  • Want to be part of the TRG – not one wild horse person on the TRG – it’s just people with
    letters after their names, we’ve got 50 years’ experience in the bush
  • Who goes on the aerial survey flight paths – why can’t an independent person be involved so
    they can know the right number? – someone who doesn’t have a conflict of interest
  •   NPWS has been dodging – are they able to give up what a sustainable number is? – it not, is
    won’t be a management plan, it will be an eradication plan – the survey is irrelevant
  •   Why are you continuing to trap and remove, if there are some unanswered questions?
  •   Don’t have a management plan if you don’t know what you are managing (i.e. the numbers),
    aerial survey results are contentious, population growth figures are way out, as are the
    projected numbers – all detail can be proven to be incorrect
  •   Overseas data might be irrelevant here, i.e. survival/foaling rate – decisions based on
    incorrect data
  •   This consultation is a ploy to expand time whilst trapping program continues to be done –
    no-one form NPWS has agreed to consult on sustainable numbers, are you prepared to
    suspend trapping?
  •   No-one knew they were trapping horses in Snowy Plains – this is happening all over the KNP
  •   NPWS, will go hell for leather to remove horses as quickly as possible
  •   There is not the numbers of horses in the park to trash it – will you suspend the trapping
  •   If it is not a management plan, why not start putting $ on the horses and start earning money
    from them?
  •   There is no independent person counting the number of horses being removed – there is a
    reason to take more – as many as possible
  • Can get rid of a number of horses – shouldn’t they go to those people before they go to the
    knackery – they make $50 each – horses that could be place are not being placed
  •   Why can’t individuals come along and take a horse from the trap
  •   We want to be better represented  in the final decision making process
  •   We were the only 2 pro-brumby people on the committee – we signed a letter saying we
    didn’t support it – we were told nothing could happen til review
  •   It’s a P.O.V. not facts – it’s NPWS opinion
  • Fact sheets – need to show the whole story – history, heritage etc, cultural value
  •   Calling it a fact sheet is a problem – there’s no evidence – call it an information sheet not a
    fact sheet
  •   Hundreds of people go horse riding in the KNP
  •   One of the key points is that we are not getting a representative on the TRG
  • Select a time to have a meeting to work out the consultation process
  •   Bush users group has been negotiating for three years with NPWS – we have established a
    relationship (we have been information when we asked for it) – you can catch more bees
    with honey than with vinegar – if you haven’t got trust first – need to make it work with
  •   Can’t you let general public know when you go up in chopper to let people know
  •   Had calls to say things are coming up so we are prepared (have trust with NPWS)
  •   Australia did have kangaroos with hooves, large animals some only extinct last 6,000 years  –
    ground animals secret to our fire tolerance – need to review this – want to have ability to put
    this into the process
  •   It’s a farce – it’s a pre-determined outcome , the information is all negative material, it’s a
  •   Why isn’t roping allowed, what law is stopping it? How much does it cost to remove horses?
    We would do it for free
  •   What happened to other people who hurt themselves in the park?
  •   We want to be allowed to run brumbies
  •   We run tours – many people come to see brumbies – they are an attraction – skiing is
    becoming less sustainable – now working to extend/develop summer time activities – people
    come from around the world to see brumbies, they are an icon
  •   People caught horses for the war, so it is part of our history
  •   If brumby running is so bad, why not stop the places/events that have brumby roping
  •   Horses aren’t in the KNP, the KNP was put around horses
  •   Had loads of plants, small animals – there will be a travesty if we get rid of brumbies – we will
    see outcome in 100 years – similar to issue with removal of bison
  •   NPWS are infinitely better, better trust than Victoria.

3 Next Steps

During the meeting the following next steps were agreed:

  •   Participants would be sent a copy of the notes taken during the meeting (this record)
  •   A second stakeholder meeting  would be held to discuss the engagement process in more
  •   The meeting would be held during the day on a weekend.



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2 responses to “Report Leave Tumut Brumby Protection Community Dumbfounded

  1. Ian

    August 27, 2014 at 12:23 am

    We have fished north of Kiandra for 40 years. Originally we might see one mob of a dozen or so horses during a week of fishing.
    Last November we saw 250 in 24 hours. 40 percent were foals. Creek banks had been trampled in. The water in them was undrinkable, muddy, horrible and smelly. No-one would return to fish
    We hope that brumbies can be safely removed and relocated. But SOMETHING must be done! I suspect that many may have died this winter through lack of feed and it would be awful if they were lost altogether. But numbers must be heavily reduced. A disaster is taking place before our very eyes

    • snowybrumby

      August 28, 2014 at 7:32 am


      Snowy mountains people have concerns that they have been excluded from their heritage and that is including timely and civilised management of fire risk, the biodiversity and conservation values disappearing and they know there are various vested interests wanting the Brumby gone because it is on the grazed green Brumby runs that the “climate changing effects” of the recent alpine inferno the biodiversity loss trends are not occurring because the fire on Brumby runs were either insignificant or greatly diminished to being beneficial. Biodiversity sort food and fire safe haven on the Brumby runs that provide quality water least impacted by the inferno. Brumby are being manipulated into big mobs blown about by helicopters and designed to cause anxiety through media beat up when local communities are excluded from traditional management. The lethal aspects of park management continue.

      There is also a number of unrealistic expectations to remove trout because they were introduced by acclimatisation societies back in the 1800s. These were for stockmen’s rations and tourists pleasure. A little taste of home in Britain as were the rabbit, the carp…. The bee keepers are no longer allowed to over winter bees on gum blossom in the thing now called national park. The penal colony went hungry for decades before bees were imported to pollenate the fruit, vegetables, oil and grain crops. We have no indication that the Sydney penal colony will be moved off shore and only those calling themselves ‘environmental activists and commissioned scientists’ will be allowed to reside in Australia exclusively. The self appointed antisocial bunyip aristocracy at the cost of the Australian ecology. The developers living off the profits of subdivisions.

      What needs to be understood is that in regards to stream bank impact of horses or any big animal is they will cause a lot of impact when mustered by helicopter and galloped terrified back and forth across creeks and wet areas to achieve a photo opportunity propaganda shot. It is also noted from long experience by bushmen across Australia, steam bank rounding long term reduces soil loss as rounded banks are less likely to be undercut and large swathes of soil drop off in flood events and washed out of the region to the nearest silt trap reservoir rather than being retained in an eddy to make a reed bed for fish, crayfish, frogs etc. Rounded banks are more forgiving of changes in water levels as water passively rises over vegetated and pugged areas self healing where wildlife and big animal activity is given a choice.

      In the old days woody shrubs were managed by cool fire pruned and thinned thickets so there were more animal crossings dissipating pressure areas and even fishermen had more choices to access creeks. Fish and aquatic life were more abundant because the creeks were not over grown shaded drains of black oily dead water. Water quality, such that it does not support tadpole, plankton, reed beds full of fish or fingerling food. Big animals create fish feeding areas. Certainly in the grazing era the fishing was far better than today in abundance and quality with the fish fatter and tasting better, spawning in the light gravel and reed beds. Fish 20 years old 10 inches long and tasting like rank gum leaves or dead tussock is what has happened in the last few decades since the grazing leases have been sabotaged by the exclusive bushwalking set thinking about “little-ol-me”, first. Power and control.

      Water quality in the Upper Murrumbidgee Brumby runs produces the worlds best water still compared to what leaves the ACT into the Burrenjuck settling pond where mysterious fish kills occur wiping out mature fish and fingerling releases of thousands of fish bred by fishing licences. Will the cheap waste water treatment in the ACT compensate licenced fishermen for the loss of generations of fish and genetics? The flood and environmental releases resulting in black water fish kills the length of the Murrumbidgee Yanga land grabs and Murray Barmah Gunbower flood plains killing cod better than any commercial fishing venture did. The Brumby and cattle managing the moira grass plains instead are getting the public attention not the botch of bigger ‘man made by experts’ impacts. The Brumby in Canberra’s Cotter produced good water and good fishing. When the Brumby were exterminated the Cotter has burnt to a cinder including ancient previously ‘made fire safe’ alpine bogs destocked rendered dysfunctional undercut and millions of tonnes of soot and silt ended up in the dams destroying taxpayer funded dam building storage capacity.

      No one is talking this impact on the regions water, making the Brumby impact exceedingly positive in the bigger scheme of things for water, drought proofing towns, cities, irrigators. Canberra would not have a cheap alternate water supply if the Brumby and travelling cattle had not held the grazing era legacy some what viable in the Upper Murrumbidgee as they created and nurtured the Cotter legacy before it was mindlessly destocked to save a quick quid in city water treatment investment. The ‘100 year locked up legacy’ is being talked about in America as they serially burn down their over grown forests and water supplies. A little strategic water treatment expenditure looks cheap compared to the consequences of holocaust delivering lingering “man made climate change.”

      Grazed green vegetation on the few remaining viable Brumby runs, naturally fire safe during the 2003 holocaust when the lovingly over grown vegetation surrounding with piles of stale gum leaves, fallen timber, bark and sticks provided rocket fuel to incinerate the region the soils, the forest delivering “climate change” from city pollution and policy failure in watershed management by those with no land management commitment or skills hired labour out of a ‘university greenhouse’ plonked on wages has delivered this man made and avoidable “climate change” brought about by vested interests shortcuts savings at the environments cost and distracting peoples attention to scapegoats.

      ProBrumby people want the restoration of sustainable ecological management like what was promised when national park was declared and this includes healthy fisheries Ian. You are not alone remembering back 40 years some of our elders go back 60, 80 years and longer in their families eyes. Utopia has not come with title change and commercial water sales. The CON in conservation.

      Concerning Ian’s comment on Report Leave Tumut Brumby Protection Community Dumbfounded
      “The Straight Talk promise is clear and consistent: we ensure community members have their say and are heard. No matter what that is.

      We hope that brumbies can be safely removed and relocated. But SOMETHING must be done! I suspect that many may have died this winter through lack of feed and it would be awful if they were lost altogether. But numbers must be heavily reduced. A disaster is taking place before our very eyes.

      Noeline Franklin, B Sc (Hons), PTC, M Med Sc.
      Scientist/Farmer5 Noeline Franklin


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