The Country Needs People campaign has been working hard to get commitment from the major parties to grow and secure Indigenous ranger funding. So where did they stand in the 2016 federal election?
We've been asking for three things:
- Double funding for Indigenous rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas over the next five years;
- Extend the length of contracts to reinforce stability and recognise the long term planning needs of land and sea management;
- Set a long term target of 5000 rangers to meet the environmental need of Outback Australia.
Here's what the parties have to say in response:
The Australian Greens have met the Country Needs People asks by calling for Indigenous ranger jobs to be doubled, contracts to be extended to 15 years, and a long term target of 5000 rangers established. They have written to the Prime Minister offering to work with him to deliver this.
The Australian Labor Party has committed to double funding for Indigenous rangers over the next five years in their pre-election policy. If elected, the ALP committed to an additional $200 million and extending contracts so that their five year length restarts from 2016. Recently at the Garma festival the Labor leader Bill Shorten re-emphasised the importance of increasing support for Ranger jobs as an ongoing element of Labor Policy.
Liberal National Coalition
The Liberal National Coalition has not yet committed to extending Indigenous Ranger and Indigenous Protected Area funding beyond June 2018 or growing the number of Indigenous Ranger jobs around Australia. They have been sending email responses to supporters from their local member stating that they support Indigenous rangers around Australia and will continue funding for existing contracts up to June 2018.
If you received this response and would like to respectfully follow up, you might:
- ask whether they will increase Indigenous ranger jobs nationally;
- ask whether they will extend security for Indigenous ranger positions beyond June 2018; and
- emphasise that this is a fantastic opportunity to create jobs and protect nature.
Nick Xenophon Team (NXT)
In response to a pre-election questionnaire the Nick Xenophon team made this response.
"The Indigenous Ranger Program and Indigenous Protected Areas Program are some of the most successful Indigenous programs that have been run by the federal government to date. The Nick Xenophon Team supports the continuation of these programs, including doubling of Indigenous Rangers and increased funding for IPA’s."
The Jacqui Lambie Team has broadly expressed support for Indigenous ranger jobs, and has committed to support doubling funding and jobs for Indigenous Rangers nationwide. Read more
Andrew Wilkie MP
Andrew Wilkie MP (independent Member for Denison, Tasmania) has stated that he supports the expansion of Indigenous ranger and Indigenous Protected Area programs.
Other parties and independents
The Glenn Lazarus Team supported a target of 5000 rangers by 2025, long-term certainty of funding to 2030 and stable, long-term funding for the continued operation of Indigenous Protected Areas. Read more
Rob Oakeshott (independent candidate for the seat of Cowper) stated that he strongly supported all three campaign asks, and would be a strong advocate for the Indigenous ranger and IPA programs if elected.
Phone calls and visits to your local electorate have even more weight than your messages to local candidates. Would you call or visit your local MP to ask what they'll do for Indigenous rangers? Contact us for more information.
The Country Needs People campaign is non-partisan and advocates to all political representatives the value of increasing and securing funding for Indigenous rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas.