This litigation was commenced by Philip Maguire in order to prevent Parks Victoria from shooting feral horses (also called brumbies) in the Alpine National Park. Mr Maguire claimed that Parks Victoria could not decide to shoot the horses without first engaging in a community consultation process. Mr Maguire is the owner of Mount Bundarrah Station, which abuts the Park. Mr Maguire said that he would participate in the consultation that he alleged was required of Parks Victoria. Mr Maguire also said that the brumbies grazed on his land, that he cared for their wellbeing materially and emotionally and that the brumbies were a material contributing factor to his income as the owner of a horse adventure business. However, Mr Maguire accepted that his business was not currently operating and that he last held a licence to operate his business in the Park in 2008.
At first instance, Moore J found that Mr Maguire did not have a special interest in the subject matter of the proceeding and accordingly did not have standing to commence the action. Justice Moore also went on to consider the merits of Mr Maguire’s claims and concluded that he would have dismissed the proceeding in any event. His Honour found that there was no obligation on Parks Victoria to consult with the community before making its decision.
The Court of Appeal refused Mr Maguire’s application for leave to appeal on the basis that, having failed to establish a special interest, Mr Maguire did not have standing.