We're in Broome, celebrating the importance of Indigenous women ranger jobs and Indigenous Protected Areas in protecting country and transforming lives in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities here in the Kimberley.
The report Strong Women on Country, by Country Needs People, highlights the success stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women working as Indigenous rangers and on Indigenous Protected Areas, particularly for protecting nature, empowering women and their families, and strengthening community and culture.
Nyul Nyul Ranger Devena Cox and ABC presenter Molly Hunt were among the speakers at the report’s Broome launch.
“We need more women rangers. We know our country. We know our culture. We know our kids and communities. We are mothers, leaders and traditional owners who have skills and want to learn more,” said Ms Cox.
Fellow Nyul Nyul Ranger Tamara Sebastian was also in attendance.
“Being a ranger is more than just a job, it connects me with my country and culture. When I put that uniform on, I feel happy and proud,” Ms Sebastian said.
Country Needs People spokesperson Sophia Walter said the 25 case studies in the report are just a snapshot of the value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are delivering around the country.
“Indigenous ranger and Indigenous Protected Area programs create a unique platform for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s leadership, in a wide range of ways.
“Indigenous women rangers are core to protecting our natural and cultural heritage, at the same time as delivering positive social outcomes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
“The report is a testament to the incredible work of Indigenous women rangers and supports the call to grow more ranger jobs across our Indigenous Protected Areas.”
“Now, more than ever, we need to recognise the value of strong women on country and expand our vision to match their commitment, resilience and optimism to deliver a stronger and healthier country for us all.”
Kimberley Land Council Acting Deputy CEO Sarah Parriman said women rangers are key to the success of the Kimberley Ranger Network – an alliance of Indigenous ranger groups all across the Kimberley region.
“Our women rangers are leaders in their communities,” Ms Parriman said. “They are paving the way for other women to take on positions caring for country and playing a critical role looking after the unique environment and culture of the Kimberley.”
From the Kimberley, Bardi Jawi, Karajarri, Nyangumarta, Nyul Nyul and Yawuru women rangers feature in the report.
Indigenous rangers tackle environmental threats like feral animals, invasive weeds and destructive wildfires, as well as undertake cultural site and tourism infrastructure maintenance.
Country Needs People is an alliance of 38 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and the Pew Charitable Trusts, calling for government to grow and secure more ranger jobs and Indigenous Protected Areas in consultation with traditional owners and their support organisations by:
- Doubling funding for Indigenous ranger jobs and Indigenous Protected Areas over the next five years;
- Committing to a ten year funding horizon for Indigenous rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas;
- Supporting a long term target of 5000 jobs in Indigenous land and sea management across Australia.