The Monday morning following the election, we decided the best office we could be in was out bush. For a couple of hours, we left our laptops behind and drew on the sound of the wind, the bounding roos, and the sweeping views of high up boulders for energy. It was a good reminder of what rangers have said again and again – that people need country just like country needs people.
As you know, our Country Needs People campaign has been calling for double funding and longer term security for Indigenous rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas. We’ve always asked ALL sides of politics for this because we genuinely believe it’s something that all sides can and should support. We’ve never been partisan or told people how to vote, and we’ve given pollies from all sides recognition when they speak up for the value of rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas.
Together we got election commitments from Labor, the Greens, Centre Alliance and lots of Independents for those big asks. Now we will be working to get Scott Morrison’s new government to commit to specific plans for growing and securing Indigenous rangers and IPAs too. Why? Because there is so much of our huge country to manage, because people need meaningful jobs they are proud to do, and because we reckon the vast majority of Australians recognise this.
To remind you of what the Coalition said before the election about rangers and IPAs in response to all of our messages, they said:
- they were proud of a legacy of supporting Indigenous land and sea management;
- that “there is absolutely no uncertainty about the future of employment of Indigenous rangers under a Morrison Government.”
- that “We will continue to invest in rangers to grow their capacity and increase their presence.”
We are more determined than ever to see results that meet the nation's environmental need and meet demand from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. We’ll be talking to the new Coalition government, calling for specific plans for future growth of Indigenous ranger jobs and Indigenous Protected Areas. With your help, we can make this happen.
Four years ago, a small but determined group of people were fighting hard for better funding for Indigenous rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas… Today, there’s 96 000 of us. Together, we will keep building that story. We will be determined, we will be creative, we will be collaborative, and we will keep celebrating the success of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people caring for our country.
I won’t give up on the call for more funding and better security for Indigenous rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas. I hope you won’t either because together, we are strong.
Nature always has something to teach us and yesterday morning, that lesson was to never stop fighting for the good things our country needs.
- Soph and the Country Needs People team.