Published: 11 Mar 2022
Country Needs People has consistently campaigned around Australia for governments to get behind traditional owners and back in Aboriginal rangers with increased, longer term, well-tailored funding. Funding that provides for wages, equipment, support staff and training.
We know that well-resourced Aboriginal ranger jobs can deliver the environmental management and cultural care that so much Country in South Australia needs. Unlike some other states, South Australia does not fund Aboriginal ranger teams directly or have any program that solely supports community-based Indigenous land and sea management.
Since January, over 1200 South Australian Country Needs People supporters have contacted their local candidates asking how they plan to grow Indigenous land and sea management in the State.
Specifically, Country Needs People supporters asked SA pollies from all sides to commit to:
- Developing a Looking after Country Strategy for South Australia
- Establishing an annual $750,000 Indigenous land and sea management small grants program to support new and emerging groups.
- Investing $8 million over four years in a Looking after Country Project Fund
- Establishing a SA Aboriginal Ranger Program to protect South Australia’s cultural and environmental leadership and provide up to 50 full-time equivalent jobs for Aboriginal people.
With the SA election fast approaching, here are the public party responses to our asks.
In their policy statement, the South Australian Greens reiterated their ongoing support for Indigenous rangers and committed to setting up a South Australian Indigenous Ranger program with a staged rollout over 4 years. They have also noted that this kind of program is an opportunity to pull in further investment from the Federal Government, NGOs and businesses.
Specifically, with respect to our asks, the SA Greens have committed to:
- Creating a dedicated SA Indigenous Ranger program to develop and support land and sea management in the state, and
- 50 new Indigenous Ranger positions across the state over the next four years in a staged rollout, with $20 million funding.
South Australian Liberal Party
The South Australian Liberal Party has not announced a policy on a community-based Aboriginal Ranger Program or directly addressed any of the asks we have listed above.
Some individual Liberal party candidates stated they support Indigenous land and sea management and pointed to their past support of national parks and services for Aboriginal South Australians but did not directly address supporter enquiries about community-led Indigenous land and sea management.
South Australian Labor Party
The South Australian Labor Party has not announced a policy on a community-based Aboriginal Ranger Program or directly addressed any of the asks we have listed above.
A number of Labor party candidates mentioned that they believed increasing opportunities for Indigenous people to look after Country in SA is important. They pointed to their plans to support co-management of South Australian national parks and to create 15 new Aboriginal ranger jobs within parks but did not directly address supporter enquiries about community-led Indigenous land and sea management.
Labor has also committed to establishing an Aboriginal Ministerial Advisory Group to ensure the environment minister hears directly from Aboriginal people.
Dianah Walter- Independent for the seat of Narungga
Dianah Walter running as an independent candidate for the seat of Narungga has fully supported all four points that Country Needs People has proposed. You can see her support expressed here on her social media.
Unfortunately, we haven't seen any public announcements responding to our asks from the other minor parties and independents.
That's all the information we have for you about where South Australian pollies stand on supporting Indigenous land and sea management this election. Thanks to all of you who have written to or contacted your local pollies and candidates. If you haven't done so yet, you can make your voice heard here.
We are determined to keep pushing for a better plan for Aboriginal rangers and land and sea management across SA. We really appreciate your ongoing support and interest; you can be sure we'll stay on the case after the election too!
We never back one party or candidate over another. We will never tell you how to vote, but we do communicate the policy positions of various parties and pollies to allow you to make up your own mind.
Good for people, good for nature, and good for culture. More Aboriginal ranger jobs will benefit every South Australian.