The ACT Equestrian Association Inc.

This Association has some concerns in relation to the draft clauses for Resource protection areas (Part 10.1) Representing a group which could be affected by activities prohibited in reserves, i.e. “riding a horse”, Section 239, we believe there should be a revision of wording proposed in the Exposure draft of the Nature Conservation Bill 2013.

Identifying horse riding as a possible prohibited activity and not including as a sample activity riding a bicycle appears prejudicial when bike riding as an activity is so much in evidence in ACT reserves. Observational and anecdotal evidence is that bike riding can cause environmental damage in ACT reserves, more so than damage by any horse rider.

The present provision for declaration of a resource protection area could lead to exclusion of horse riders from a large area of open space where the resource area declared closed for conservation purposes prevented access to an adjoining open space area still open to horse riding. There needs to be some provision for continued access through an area declared a resource protection area having in mind that declaration of an area for resource protection might prevent access to other areas still open for horse riding.

We also believe that allowance of closure for a period of 5 years before any review is a lengthy period. (Section 238) Benefits of protection are likely to be obvious after a shorter period and there should be provision for review after a shorter period such as 3 years.

13 December 2013