Published: 11 Mar 2021
Country Needs People has consistently campaigned for the Western Australian government 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. This needs to be backed up by a team within government that understands the challenges and opportunities of Traditional Owner led conservation and management work and can lend support when required.
We know that properly funded and supported Aboriginal ranger jobs can deliver the environmental management and cultural management that Western Australia badly needs. In response to this campaigning and strong advocacy by many different Traditional Owners back in 2017 the WA budget included an investment of $20 million over 5 years to create the WA Aboriginal Ranger Program. Thanks to all our supporters for your help in this.
Since January 2021, over 2300 new West Aussie Country Needs People supporters have contacted their local candidates asking them how they plan to grow and strengthen further WA’s Aboriginal Ranger Program. Thank you for building our collective voice to over 10,000 West Australians who have made their views known.
So, with the WA Election this Saturday, we thought we’d update you on where each major party stands on growing and properly funding Aboriginal rangers.
Our asks to all sides have consistently been:
- Extend and increase the funding of the Aboriginal Ranger Program to be spent over four years.
- Commit to working with Traditional Owners to find ways that the funding can be delivered so rangers are more effective on country.
Here are the party responses we can find so far:
On Feb 22nd, Premier Mark McGowan committed to more than doubling the funding available to the Western Australian Aboriginal Ranger Program to $50 million over the next 4 years. We said at the time that this 2.5x increase on the previous four years is powerful recognition of the contribution of Traditional Owners in caring for WA’s environmental and cultural heritage.
In a letter to Country Needs People, WA Environment Minister, Stephen Dawson indicated on behalf of Labor a willingness to sit down with Traditional Owners and look for ways to make the WA Aboriginal Ranger Funding more practical should they win government.
WA Liberal Party
Despite receiving over 2300 emails to their candidates from Country Needs People supporters, The Western Australia Liberals have not privately to us, our supporters or publicly to Western Australians, announced a policy on the Aboriginal Ranger Program at the time of compiling this email that we are aware of.
On Feb 16, the Nationals WA recommitted to $20 million in base funding over the next 5 years. This is essentially a continuation of the funding for the program.
The Nationals also committed to working with Aboriginal people to expand the opportunities in line with the program.
The Greens have committed $60 million to be spent over 5 years (a three-fold increase to the current funding rate) for additional First Nations rangers and to work towards securing ‘forever funding’ type models for First Nations’ ranger programs in WA.
So, there you have it folks. That’s all the information we have for you as to where the parties stand on their promises to support Aboriginal Rangers this election. Again, we thank all of you who have written to or contacted your local pollies and candidates.
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 so you can make up your own mind.
Whoever wins this election we will be committed to working with all sides of politics as always in advocating with our many West Australian partners for quantity and quality investment in Aboriginal community-based rangers and caring for country work.
Good for people, good for nature, good for culture and jobs where they’re needed and a great benefit to every West Australian.