It is now 2 weeks since the agistees at North Curtin Horse Paddocks received a letter from the CEO of the National Capital Authority informing them that it had acquired two thirds of their agistment facility and they would have to leave in 2 years, unless they NCA decided to evict them earlier.
- the President of the ACT Equestrian Association has written to the Minister responsible for Rural Service, Mr Mick Gentleman,
- agistees have started a petition that has garnered over a thousand signatures (https://www.change.org/p/national-capital-authority-act-government-save-north-curtin-horsepaddocks?recruiter=1080756202&recruited_by_id=f3d73230-8600-11ea-bc43-4dbc37ad038a&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=psf_combo_share_abi&utm_term=tap_basic_share)
- their plight has been aired in the the RiotACT and on ABC Radio
- ABC TV is doing an interview at the paddocks on Tuesday .12 May
- Liberal Member for Murrumbidgee, Guilia Jones, asked a question in the Assembly on 7 May on why the equestrian community was not consulted before the land swap
- individual horse owners have been busy, being interviewed on radio, writing letters to the Canberra Times, contacting the Woden Community Consultative Committee, the Curtin Residents Association and the Canberra Ornithological Group.
- agistees and ACTEA have also been talking with other media in the hope of more coverage
In all that time and despite all this activity no one from the ACT Government, from the Minister down, has deigned to contact agistees at North Curtin to explain the arrangements they have made with the National Capital Authority; what will happen to the remaining 10 hectares of paddock and when; or what arrangements they have made, if any, for the accommodation of displaced horses.
When contacted by ACTEA, Mr Gentleman’s Chief of Staff denied the MOU ACTEA has with the Government in regard to horse paddocks even applied to his Minister. This was a fabulous claim to make since Mr Gentleman is both the Minister for the Environment and Heritage and the Minister for Planning and Land Management and wearing either of those hats he has a responsibility in this matter. At this stage ACTEA has received no written response to its representations.
In response to Mrs Jones’ question on Thursday 7 May, Minister Gentleman’s position seemed to have shifted a little when he replied, inter alia:
It is certainly our intention to liaise as much as possible with equestrian groups across the ACT.
In the meantime, we will work with those agistees on another opportunity, perhaps looking for another horse paddock in the ACT.
..we view the agreements between agistees, particularly the equestrian groups in he territory, and government as important memorandums of understanding. We will certainly be working with them on future opportunities for them to agist their horses. As I have just said, it was a federal government decision to acquire the land. We will certainly work as well as we can with those groups into the future.
We are all still waiting however for any kind of communication from either the Minister or senior management in the responsible Directorate. Until that happens North Curtin horse owners are just unacknowledged detritus in a development deal.