On 9 February 2023, the Senate referred the impacts and management of feral horses in the Australian Alps for inquiry and report by 9 June 2023, with the following terms of references:
To inquire into the impacts and management of feral horses in the Australian Alps, with particular reference to:
a) identifying best practice approaches to reduce the populations of feral horses in the Australian Alps and their impact on:
i. biodiversity, including threatened and endangered species and ecological communities listed under Commonwealth, state or territory law,
ii. the ecological health of the Australian Alps national parks and reserves,
iii. Indigenous cultural heritage, and
iv. the headwaters of the Murray, Murrumbidgee, Snowy and Cotter Rivers, including their hydrology, water holding capacity, water quality, habitat integrity and species diversity;
b) Commonwealth powers and responsibilities, including:
i. the protection of matters of national environmental significance under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, including listed threatened species and communities and the National Heritage listed Australian Alps national parks and reserves,
ii. obligations under international treaties, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, and
iii. the commitment to prevent new extinctions under the threatened species action plan;
c) the adequacy of state and territory laws, policies, programs and funding for control of feral horses and other hard-hoofed invasive species in the Australian Alps, and their interaction with Commonwealth laws and responsibilities;
d) measures required to repair and restore native habitats for species impacted by feral horses and other hard-hoofed invasive species in the Australian Alps, including for iconic species like the corroboree frog and the platypus; and
e) any other related matters.
The closing date for submissions has been extended from 11 April 2023 to 28 April 2023.
On 23 May 2023, the Senate accepted a progress report by the committee that recommended an extension of time to report until 29 September 2023.