Australian news, and some related international items

Success of Indigenous rangers program: calls for it to be expanded

Call to expand Indigenous rangers program by national Indigenous affairs correspondent Bridget Brennan, 30 Mar 17, Indigenous rangers are helping to prevent habitat loss and species decline across an area 10 times the size of Tasmania, a new report says.

The Country Needs People alliance — which represents dozens of ranger groups across the country — said it should be an incentive for the Federal Government to commit to extending funding for Indigenous Protected Areas.

The report found multiple examples of ranger groups, in each state and territory, controlling fires and destroying feral animals and weeds. The Prime Minister’s Indigenous Affairs adviser, Chris Sarra, said he supported a call to expand ranger numbers.

In the report, Dr Sarra said rangers were succeeding because supporting their work encouraged self-determination and connection to country.

“That success is built on the strength of our connection to culture and country,” he said.

Country Needs People also called on the Government to set an ambitious target to employ an extra 4,200 Indigenous rangers by 2022.

The chief executive of the Olkola Aboriginal Corporation, Debbie Symonds, said her group had just four rangers covering 860,000 hectares on Cape York in Queensland.

“To be able to employ even another four rangers would be an amazing leap for us,” Ms Symonds said.

Funding for 800 rangers has been given a lifeline by the Federal Government until 2020, but funding to operate the 75 Indigenous Protected Areas they work on runs out in the middle of next year. Ms Symonds said on a recent “bush blitz”, Olkola Land Managers had recorded new skinks, bats, moths, spiders and birds in their area.

She said with “limited resources”, the rangers were also working to conserve the tiny population of the golden-shouldered parrot, a totem for the Olkola people.

“It was on the brink of extinction and we’re slowly bringing it back from extinction,” she said.


March 31, 2017 - Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL

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