The Country Needs People alliance applauds the announcement of the Labor Party’s commitment to double Indigenous ranger jobs.
Ned David, chair of Torres Strait Land and Sea Council (Gur A Baradharaw Kod) said the policy was an investment in jobs that were clearly working for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and all Australians.
“On a daily basis, rangers are controlling destructive feral animals, combating weeds, fighting and managing wildfires right across Australia, and these are jobs that benefit everyone and that our people really value.”
“We don’t separate land, sea and people in our culture. Each element must be healthy to keep all three healthy so ranger jobs make so much sense to us. I can tell you from my own personal experience that our people are committed to looking after this land, if there are more jobs for better management that will benefit everyone.“
Yuku Baja Muliku Land Trust managing director Larissa Hale also welcomed the announcement.
“Our land straddles two World Heritage Areas, the Queensland Wet Tropics and the Great Barrier Reef so we know the natural and cultural values up here are incredible assets. We can use more ranger jobs to capitalise on that by ensuring our land and sea is well cared for and encouraging well managed tourism,” she said.
Yuku Baja Muliku Rangers run a turtle rehabilitation station as well as junior ranger programs for school children.
“The Ranger work combined with our caring for country work and tourism are some of the best things we’ve ever had going up there and we are keen to build on that with additional jobs,” Ms Hale said.
There are currently 109 Indigenous ranger groups around Australia managing 775 Full Time Equivalent positions, which translates into thousands of jobs when shared between full time, part time and casual employees.
The rangers work across land and sea including 72 Indigenous Protected Areas covering over 65 million hectares of some of Australia’s most beautiful, biodiverse and culturally rich regions.
“Australia needs boots on the ground every week across our huge landscapes and coastal areas if we are serious about having a healthy environment,” Mr David said.
“This commitment by Labor is a substantial approach to meeting that need and applying the jobs right in the landscapes and areas they are needed most. I sometimes think that our politicians must have been blind not to really jump on the opportunity here more in the past. I’m pleased to see we are being listened to on this and now it’s really back to Malcolm Turnbull after this. He said he would listen to us when we tell him what is working and he said he wanted a ten year plan for jobs and growth – well that’s exactly what we’ve been saying in the call to increase Indigenous ranger and Indigenous Protected Area funding across Australia. It just makes sense on so many levels,” Mr David said.