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Country Needs People welcomes Labor commitment

Country Needs People welcomes Labor commitment to double funding for Indigenous Protected Areas

The Labor commitment to double funding for Indigenous Protected Areas is a “visionary recognition” of the contribution of IPAs to protecting Australia’s environment.

Labor last night released an election commitment to double funding for Indigenous Protected Areas over the next five years, matching an existing commitment to also double Indigenous ranger jobs over five years. Labor has also committed to extended contract lengths to six years, with contract extension negotiations beginning in the third year of the contract.  

Indigenous land and sea managers around the country, like Pormpuraaw senior ranger Clinton Williams in far north Queensland, have welcomed the announcement.

“A commitment to grow Indigenous ranger and Indigenous Protected Area funding is definitely a big deal for me and my people.

“This year we’ve applied for an Indigenous Protected Area on our country, and this commitment to double IPA funding would mean all around Australia traditional owner groups like us will be better supported to protect country,” Clinton said.

Country Needs People spokesperson Sophia Walter said, if implemented, today’s commitment by Labor would see Indigenous Protected Areas responsible for more than half of all protected areas in Australia within five years.

“Many of Australia’s last wildlife strongholds are protected by Indigenous rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas.

“This is a visionary commitment that means the places we as Australians are so proud of – the rainforests, coastlines, deserts – will be better protected by traditional owners.  This is work that benefits every Australian.

“The longer term contracts send a real signal about a political commitment to Indigenous land and sea management, as well as recognising the need for stability and forward planning to get the best results for people and nature.

“Australia is a massive country and has always been cared for by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and if we’re serious about caring for nature into the future, we need to invest in Indigenous rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas,” Sophia said.

The Greens, Centre Alliance and some Independents have also committed to double Indigenous ranger jobs and Indigenous Protected Areas and support longer term security for the two programs. The current Coalition Government has grown and extended Indigenous rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas but Country Needs People is calling for all parties to support doubling funding for rangers and IPAs to match environmental need and community demand, so we’re keen to see the Coalition match this commitment.

An Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) is an area of land or sea that is cared for by traditional owners. Traditional owners enter a voluntary agreement with the Commonwealth Government to protect biodiversity—the animals, plants and other species —and to conserve the area’s cultural resources, like sacred sites and rock art. Read more about Indigenous rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas.

The Country Needs People campaign is a nonpartisan alliance of 40 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land and sea management organisations, the Pew Charitable Trusts and more than 95 000 Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, who are calling to grow and secure Indigenous ranger and Indigenous Protected Area funding.