Indigenous Rangers Fire Managers

As we write this, our eyes sting from bushfire smoke and from tears. The harrowing stories of lost lives, communities and homes singe us to our core. It’s heart wrenching to think that this smoke is what’s left of country - trees, birds, grasses, insects, marsupials and not to mention the many irreplaceable sacred sites.

We’re not here to point fingers. We just know that Indigenous land management is an important part of the picture of caring for our country better. More Indigenous rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas means more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people working to protect more country using strategic burning.

Sign the petition to join us in calling on all political parties to double funding for Indigenous rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas.

Fire has always been a part of country in Australia. Traditionally, people walked the landscape and carefully ‘put in’ fire into the country as they moved, creating an intricate patchwork or mosaic of different fire ages and vegetation types. This patterning still exists in parts of the landscape close to some Indigenous communities, who still have a strong drive to hunt, gather and care for country as they have done for millennia.

Indigenous rangers working on Indigenous Protected Areas and beyond combine traditional ‘right way fire’ practice with contemporary techniques to reduce the impact of broad scale, destructive fires on the landscape.

When we at Country Needs People talk about the destructive fires terrorising our country, we’re not only thinking of the fires ravaging New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia right now. We’re talking about the dangerous fire season that our partners in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory and the Great Western Woodlands, Western Australia have been facing. We’re talking about an area bigger than the state of Tasmania that burnt in the Kimberley, Western Australia last year. And the wildfires that tore through Central Australia shortly afterwards.

Strategic fire management needs more long term funding security to support landscape-scale, long term planning and implementation.

Dear Prime Minister,

CC: Minister for Indigenous Australians, Minister for the Environment, Leader of the Opposition, Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians, Shadow Minister for the Environment, State Senators, my local MP,

As you formulate policies to address the destructive fires that have terrorised our country this summer, I implore you to include the growth and long term security of Indigenous ranger jobs and Indigenous Protected Areas as part of your response.

Indigenous rangers combine traditional ‘right way fire’ practice with contemporary techniques to promote healthy landscapes and reduce the impact of broad scale, destructive fires. More Indigenous rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas means more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people working in partnerships to protect more country using strategic burning.

Double funding for Indigenous rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas over the next five years, and support longer term funding security and proactive departmental support to reinforce the quality of ranger work.

We must to more to avoid losing any more lives, homes, communities and wildlife.

Yours sincerely,
<NAME>

Join us in sending a message the federal pollies to double funding and secure longer term certainty for Indigenous rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas.

    I am writing to ask you to recommit to Labor’s policy to double funding and secure longer term security for Indigenous rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas.

    The Indigenous rangers and Indigenous Protected Area programs deliver massive social, economic and environmental benefits to Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities around Australia. Through Indigenous ranger jobs, people are able to earn a decent wage doing meaningful work, while maintaining connection to country and becoming role models within their communities.  Indigenous Protected Areas are on track to make up more than half of all protected areas on land in Australia.

    Australia is incredibly vast and we need more boots on the ground working to tackle environmental threats like wildfires, feral animals and noxious weeds. The Indigenous ranger and Indigenous Protected Area programs deliver real environmental benefits that promote biodiversity,  build resilience to climate change, and meet the cultural priorities of traditional owners Australia wide. 

    Nearly 100 000 Country Needs People supporters and over 40 frontline Indigenous land management organisations have called to grow and secure Indigenous ranger jobs and Indigenous Protected Areas. We welcomed your commitment before the election and want to see Labor continue to recognise the success of rangers and IPAs by recommitting to growing and securing these programs. These jobs are protecting nature and transforming lives so let’s get behind them.  

    What will you do to support growing Indigenous rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas as Labor’s new policies are developed?