MEDIA RELEASE: Inflation Will Bite into On-Country Funding for Rangers & IPAs

Published: 8 May 2023

Mimal Women Rangers Conduct Traditional Burning. Photo Courtesy Mimal Land Management.

Country Needs People, the national non-profit dedicated to supporting Indigenous land and sea management, urges the Federal Government to make sure inflation does not undermine the important work of Indigenous Rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) in looking after Country.

With inflation running at over 7% and set to stay high for the foreseeable future, Country Needs People CEO Patrick O’Leary is concerned indexation of the Indigenous land and sea sector is not keeping up with inflation and effectively means a cut to their land and sea management efforts if not addressed. “We understand Indigenous Ranger contracts nationally have an inflation adjustment figure of 1.6 % or less per annum which is woefully inadequate”, says Patrick O’Leary. “If something does not change this will equate to millions of dollars of effective cuts across the sector, which will be felt keenly at the grassroots level by every group.”

“Operating funds are effectively being eroded which puts more pressure on community-based organisations across Australia managing biodiversity and cultural values. Country Needs People calls for an automatic adjustment so that inflation does not cut into the operating expenses of Indigenous Rangers or Indigenous Protected Areas.”

“Managing fire across large landscapes, tackling the impacts of feral animals and invasive weeds, protecting threatened species, and looking after cultural sites is complex work, often in difficult conditions.   Often this is done in very remote conditions, which can be subject to even higher inflation rates than urban centres”, says Country Needs People CEO Patrick O’Leary.

With the Australian Government’s international commitment to protect 30% of land and sea by 2030, there is increasing focus on the role that IPAs play in supporting the National Reserve System and meeting international objectives. Country Needs People urges the Federal Government to make sure that there is an automatic adjustment in the contracts of each Indigenous Ranger team and each Indigenous Protected Area to ensure their operating funds are not suffering cuts in real terms and they have the resources they need to be out and looking after Country.

Country Needs People are an independent not-for-profit organisation with a growing network of 45 Aboriginal and Torres Strait frontline organisations who work and advocate for the growth, security and quality of Indigenous sustainable land and sea management Australia wide.