Published: 3 Oct 2020
Today, Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch, committed to doubling the number of Indigenous Land and Sea Rangers over the next four years.
“The Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to double the number of Queensland’s Indigenous Land and Sea Rangers from 100 to 200 is a powerful recognition of the contribution of traditional owners in caring for Queensland’s environment.” Said Patrick O’Leary, Executive Director of Country Needs People.
“This will add new jobs to regional and remote Queensland where they are badly needed and will result in a stronger effort to tackle fire management, invasive weeds, feral animals as well as protecting threatened species and managing tourism and cultural sites”. Mr O’Leary said.
Keron Murray, Wuthathi traditional owner and Chairman Wuthathi Aboriginal Corporation from Shelburne Bay North East Cape York welcomed the commitment: “We’ll definitely be applying if new ranger jobs are on offer” said Mr Murray. “This is about following in the footsteps of our ancestors and caring for country. This has always been our aspirations to return our people to Country, working on our own country, taking responsibility, being the authors of our own destiny, building our own skills and reconnecting with our culture.”
Sharon Prior CEO of Ewamian Corporation near Georgetown added: “We support ranger jobs because we see the everyday benefit, for keeping our country healthy and keeping our people motivated and getting them back on country. We think this benefits all Queenslanders and we’re keen to see countrymen in other parts of Queensland get involved with Ranger work.”
Larissa Hale Managing Director of Yuku Baja Muliku of Cooktown region said: “We’ve used ranger jobs to look after our country, to create local employment, create opportunities for women, but also to assist with creating role models and education opportunities for our kids. I strongly support more ranger jobs across Queensland because it builds on the grassroots efforts of traditional owners and our own organsiations to take that leadership role in the community while looking after our country and culture.”
Vince Harrigan of Normanby Station Cape York said: “We’ve worked hard to keep our country healthy and you can see the results. But we’d definitely be interested in putting more rangers on if the jobs were available. You can’t do this kind of work on a stop-start basis, it has to be ongoing year in year out. We can create local jobs, tackle practical issues like erosion control, fire management, weed control and basically look after the country the way our old people always did.”
Jasmine Clubb Chair of Dulabed Malanbara and Yidinji corporation near Cairns said: “We will definitely be applyingforrangersiftherearemorejobsonthetable. Weneedourpeopleworkingoncountryeveryday to look after it. Everything from fire management to weeds to cultural site protection. This is why we’ve worked so hard to put together a vision for our country. We aren’t bystanders in this we want to be right ast the centre of management decisions. It would be great for us but not only that, country gets better care and management and that’s good for everybody.”
“The Queensland Indigenous Land and Sea program is a standout example across all the states in Australia. It supports real jobs, with proper operational funding and support, that’s the way to get real results for people and nature. We’d urge every party and candidate to get behind this commitment and back increasing Indigenous Ranger jobs for Queensland” said Mr O’Leary
Currently, the Queensland Government spends $12 million per year to help 24 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations employ over 100 Indigenous Land and Sea rangers across the state. The Indigenous Land and Sea rangers deliver on a co-designed and negotiated work plan that reflects traditional owner,
community and government priorities. Work includes controlling feral animals, tackling pest weeds, vegetation management to prevent large bushfires, cultural sight heritage and endangered species monitoring. This work benefits all Queenslanders.
The Country Needs People campaign is a national nonpartisan alliance of 41 Indigenous land and sea management organisations and nearly 30 thousand Indigenous and non-Indigenous Queenslanders, who are all calling for growth and security of Indigenous ranger funding.