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Indigenous rangers lobby for more positions
Indigenous rangers across Australia have launched a national campaign urging the Federal Government to double its funding and boost job numbers.
The Indigenous Ranger program and Indigenous Protected Areas program have provided jobs for more than 2,000 Aboriginal Australians.
But rangers believe that number needs to more than double to ensure lands are protected from a growing number of feral animals and weeds.
Campaign spokesperson Patrick O'Leary told the ABC "across the landscape on Aboriginal land and Torres Strait Islander land alone we would calculate that you would need 5,000 workers to deal with the scale of the fire problems, the millions of feral pigs, the millions of feral cats and the weed problems.
"Let's have a dialogue about how we can get to that."
The campaign by the Country Needs People Alliance wants the Federal Government to increase funding for the programs by 2020.
Rangers in West Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory said the Indigenous Ranger program had opened doors for kids in remote communities.
Warddeken ranger Dean Yibarbuk stated “the young ones are looking at the ranger program, they're saying yeah, I want to be there, I want to be like that, when I grow up I want to be a ranger and look after my country.”
Yibarbuk said the program was more than just land management, and also enabled the Warddeken rangers to build an independent school.
He added “it's a two-sided education, there's the Western education and the Indigenous education like language, the landscape, animals and all that"It's very important having a school for our people out in the bush."
O'Leary said the success of the school highlighted the positive impact the ranger program had on remote communities.
O'Leary concluded “it's everything that we say as a country we're wanting in remote Indigenous Australia, better attendance, better education outcomes, motivated kids in school.
"We need to be looking over the next decade, over the next 15 to 20 years, to create the stability to build more success."
As well as more funding, rangers wanted the Government to commit to longer-term funding.
World Ranger Day is marked on Sunday 31st July.
Images: Dhimurru ranger Daryl Lacey releases a turtle that was tangled in fishing net (top) and Dhimurru rangers maintaining tourism areas in north-east Arnhem Land (below).
26th July 2016 - 31ST JULY SET FOR A MAJOR CELEBRATION OF PARKS AND THE ENVIRONMENT
24th September 2015 - INDIGENOUS RANGERS AID THREATENED WALLABY CONSERVATION EFFORTS
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