- 01 June 2018: Parks Victoria released its “Alpine National Park – Feral Horse Strategic Action Plan 2018-2021”, a plan that called for the eradication of all historic Brumby populations in the Bogong High Plains and proposed to remove significant numbers from Victoria’s Eastern Alps where they have lived peacefully for 150 years or more (It must be noted that the ABA is not opposed to sustainable management of the Brumbies, but the ABA is opposed to Victoria’s Brumby populations being exterminated as is Parks Victoria’s clear intention).
- In December 2018 the ABA initiated Federal Court proceedings against Parks Victoria, on the basis that the Brumby populations are an important part of Victoria’s cultural heritage and the contention that Parks Victoria would be breaching the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act by destroying those historical populations unless they first seek approval from the Federal Minister for Environment [the Honourable Sussan Ley].
- In July 2019 the case was heard before the Federal Court over 5 days, 15-19 July. During the proceedings, the expert witnesses exposed many flaws in the scientific report that had formed the basis for Park Victoria’s plan to eradicate all Brumbies in the Bogong High Plains.
- 8 May 2020 – after nearly a year of deliberation, His Honour Justice O’Bryan has released judgement with the Australian Brumby Alliance (ABA) losing its attempt to save Victoria’s Alpine Brumbies in a landmark case against Parks Victoria.
This extreme decision forced the ABA to take urgent legal action as a last ditched attempt to stop the immediately extinction of Bogong High Plains and near extinction of the Eastern Alpine heritage brumby populations.
Ultimately, the slaughter of Australian wild horses without a comprehensive, unbiased knowledge of what is happening in the ecological habitat is a waste of taxpayers’ money, will do nothing to help the environment, but will destroy an important part of Australian cultural heritage.
What we gained from the Australian Brumby Alliance vs Parks Victoria (ABA-v-PV) case
After many detailed submissions and key stake holder meeting with park and government ministers, on 01 June 2018: Parks Victoria released its “Alpine National Park – Feral Horse Strategic Action Plan 2018-2021”, a plan that will eradicate all of our historic Brumby populations in Bogong High Plains and remove significant numbers from Victoria’s Eastern Alps. This extreme decision forced the ABA to take urgent legal action as a last ditched attempt to stop the immediately extinction of Bogong High Plains and near extinction of the Eastern Alpine heritage brumby populations.
What we gained from the ABA-v-PV Court case:
- More detailed answers to our questions than achieved in meetings and correspondence
- Instant answers, instead of no answer, that countless FOI requests have previously dodged
- Evidence of significant flaws in Parks Victoria’s Bogong High Plains Brumby impact study
- 18 months delayed of the extermination of all Bogong High Plains Brumbies
- 18 month delayed removal of significant Brumby numbers from Eastern Alpine
- Full realisation of the depth Parks Victoria will go to exterminate Victoria’s Brumby heritage
- The continuing presence of Brumbies in the Australian Alps contributes to National Heritage Values relating to High Country pioneering history, BUT
- To gain a threshold of significance for National Heritage Values listing we must strengthen the historic significance for each Victorian Brumby population before they are eradicated
In summary the Judge:
- Accepted that the continuing presence of Brumbies in the Australian Alps contributes to the National Heritage Values relating to the pioneering history of the high country
- Found that Brumbies are one physical reminder of the historic activities and, in that sense, contribute to the social connection of the pastoral community to the Australian Alps
- Ultimately held that because there would still be a significant population of Brumbies in the Eastern Alps the action would not have a significant impact on the National Heritage value
Reasons for Judgement 8 May 2020 ABA-v-PV VID 1569 of 2018 included;
- Brumbies in the Australian Alps provide a link to and evidence of Australia’s transhumant grazing and pastoral history. (Judgement s238)
- The action will not remove all brumbies from the Australian Alps. The Action will remove all brumbies from the Bogong High Plains and about half the population from the Eastern Alps. It follows that a population of Brumbies will remain in at least the Victorian Alps section of the Australian Alps. (Judgement s240)
- Parks Victoria agreed that Brumbies in the Australian Alps have cultural heritage significance, (but) the omission of express reference to brumbies in the Listing indicated that they are not significant attributes of the listed National Heritage values. (Judgement s144)
- Having regard to the foregoing factors, on balance I, (O’Bryan) do not consider the proposed Action is likely to have a significant impact on this National Heritage value. While there will be some impact (loss) by reason of the connection of the brumbies (in Bogong High Plains) …,.. the retention of a significant population of brumbies in the Eastern Alps has the result that the Action cannot be regarded as significant. (Judgement s255)
We must urgently strengthen the historic significance that each of the three Brumby populations in Victoria represents, to reach the threshold of significance for National Heritage Values listing.
Why the Australian Brumby Alliance-v-Parks Victoria Court Case was needed
The Australian Brumby Alliance (ABA) promotes dialogue (written and verbal) with national park and Government Ministers as the best way forward to moderate extreme Brumby extinction practices. We have spent 12 years using this approach with some gains.
After many detailed submissions and key stake holder meeting with park and government ministers, on 01 June 2018: Parks Victoria released its “Alpine National Park – Feral Horse Strategic Action Plan 2018-2021”, a plan that will eradicate all of our historic Brumby populations in Bogong High Plains and remove significant numbers from Victoria’s Eastern Alps.
This extreme decision forced the ABA to take urgent legal action to stop the immediately extinction of Bogong High Plains and near extinction of the Eastern Alpine heritage brumby populations.
Pre ABA Injunction consultation processes with Parks Victoria
In Parks Victoria held a series of “Round Table” meetings during 2016 with key stakeholders for the VicAlps East and the Bogong High Plains two separate Brumby populations. Minutes were taken but never distributed to key stakeholders. Later Parks Victoria told the 2018 Round Table there were no official records of the 2016 meetings leading to yet again repetition of the 2016 robust discussion.
Parks Victoria invited the ABA and other key stakeholders (December 2017) to a total of six “Round Table” discussions over January & February 2018 split into three “Round Table” meetings for each of the two Brumby populations in the Eastern Victorian Alps;
- VicAlps east (last count 2350) and a separate VicAlps Bogong High Plains (last count 84) population, and
- Barmah National Park (last count 150/250) population.
The frustration at so much duplication was evident, no minutes were recorded and a report to stakeholders was rejected by all key stakeholders.
ABA Submissions to the Round Table
2018 Parks Victoria released its draft plan at Christmas 2018, with an incomplete Bogong impact study. Despite letters to Parks Victoria and Minister D’Ambrosio, nothing changed until mid-January when the final Bogong study was released, and Parks extended the submission deadline by 2 weeks.
See ABA Submission to the Alpine National Park – Feral Horse Strategic Action Plan 2018-2021 draft
Parks Victoria released its “Alpine National Park – Feral Horse Strategic Action Plan 2018-2021”. This plan made it clear that all our historic Brumbies in Bogong High Plains would be eradicated and a remove a significant number of Brumbies from Victoria’s Eastern Alps “until no impacts are seen”.
With 750,000-1 million deer in the eastern Alps, the flawed Bogong study and deer impacts counted as horse impacts, all Brumbies would soon be removed very soon by Parks Victoria. The only option left was to take Parks Victoria to Court, air issues in public and highlight the flaws in the final plan.
This document outlines the court case for the injection to stop Parks Victoria from eliminating all Bogong High Plains Brumbies and significantly reducing the Eastern Alpine Brumby population
This document details key dates and actions with regards to the ABA injunction.
As you will see from further posts, there were negatives and positives in the judgement decision.
The following document is the official Australian Brumby Alliance media release, which was issued within 2-hours of the official judgement.
Following on from the judgement relating to Bogong High Plains and the Eastern Alps, anti-Brumby groups tried to put a negative spin on the Heritage Values of our Brumbies. The ABA has refuted these claims and highlighted the positive outcomes of the judgement.
ABA has reinforced the positive judgement outcomes in relation to Brumby heritage values in the following document.
Parks Victoria’s reasons to ground-shoot Eastern Alpine Brumbies is detailed, along with ABA’s opposing views on Parks Victoria’s claims.
Parks Victoria’s inability to meet Brumby trap quota permitted by ABA Court Case is detailed along with ABA’s critique in the following document.
What Parks Victoria said about NO aerial-ground shooting in its final plan.