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Federal Government commits $250 million to fund Indigenous rangers program until 2021

Federal Government commits $250 million to fund Indigenous rangers program until 2021
April 30, 2018

Ending uncertainty over future backing, Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion has announced that the 2018/19 Federal budget will include $250 million to support 118 Indigenous ranger groups until June 2021.

Announcing the backing less than two months before the program’s previous funding was due to expire, Minister Scullion stated “the (Federal) Government continues to deliver unprecedented support for Indigenous rangers, delivering record funding to ensure more rangers than ever before are looking after country.

“The work that continues to be done by rangers around Australia to protect our amazing land and sea country is incredible, and provides real skills and employment opportunities in rural and remote areas – but this work would not be possible without the Coalition government’s commitment to the program.”

The funding announcement made on Friday builds on a previous commitment to extend funding to 2020. That commitment was made verbally at a joint land council meeting in Kalkarindji, but was never formalised beyond letters sent to some groups.

With uncertainty over future funding for Indigenous rangers programs, a concerted campaign has been running for several years calling for a long-term commitment and increase in funding.

The Federal Working On Country program, which was established in 2007, employs more than 2,000 people to work on their traditional lands, rehabilitating and managing the environment – both land and sea.

Land cared for by rangers under Working on Country program includes 60% of Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs), which comprise about 43% of the national reserve system.

In 2017, IPAs were given a five-year extension of funding to 2023/24, beyond the commitment to ranger groups which work on them.

Shaun Ansell, Chief Executive of Warddeken Land Management, which employs 130 casual rangers to manage the Warddeken IPA in the Northern Territory, welcomed the ongoing government support and the three years of funding, which was a “positive development”.

Ansell told Guardian Australia “while that’s the shortest extension in the history of the project it is encouraging.

“However, we’ve been hearing these promises for a while and we’d like to see the contracts because we can’t pay people in promises.”

While Warddeken has received written assurances from the government of the 2020 funding, it has not seen a contract or a letter of offer, and funding for some of its rangers expired in June. 

Image: Karajarri Rangers in the Kimberley.

12th December 2017 - PARKS VICTORIA TO EMPLOY 53 NEW RANGERS

2nd April 2017 - REPORT HIGHLIGHTS VALUE OF INDIGENOUS RANGER PROGRAMS

28th July 2016 - INDIGENOUS RANGERS LOBBY FOR MORE POSITIONS 

27th May 2016 - QUEENSLAND GOVERNMENT PROTECTS INTEGRITY OF NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM WITH NEW CONSERVATION LEGISLATION

18th April 2016 - INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY OPENS OLKOLA NATIONAL PARK TO TOURISM 

1st August 2015 - LAMINGTON NATIONAL PARK CELEBRATES ITS 100TH BIRTHDAY ON WORLD RANGER DAY

24th March 2015 - END OF MINING PLANS PAVES WAY FOR CREATION OF AUSTRALIA’S LARGEST NATIONAL PARK 

13th March 2015 - NEW TOURISM PLAN TO OPEN UP REMOTE INDIGENOUS AREAS IN THE NORTHERN TERRITORY 

30th July 2014 - ACT CELEBRATES WORLD RANGER DAY 


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