Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Uncertainty about future of existing Indigenous Protected Areas

Ranger groups in the dark about future of existing Indigenous Protected Areas http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2017-05-30/future-of-existing-indigenous-protected-areas-uncertain/8557532 Weeks after the federal budget was handed down there is still uncertainty about future funding for existing Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs).

Many ranger groups welcomed the $15 million towards new IPAs, but it left a question in the air about the funding for existing IPAs.

Patrick O’Leary, from the Pew Charitable Trust, one of the key supporting organisations for the Country Needs People campaign, told local radio that he still had no information about potential funding for existing IPAs.

“What is going to happen to the existing Indigenous Protected Area network of 67 million hectares, 75 of them across the country, and about 20 or 30 million hectares worth in the NT?” he said.

“Because in June next year those contracts for IPAs reach the end of their five-year term.”

Detail about where these new IPAs might be has also not been given.

Groups seek commitment

Jawoyn Rangers land management co-ordinator Liam Golding welcomed the funding for new IPAs, but also wanted secure funding for the programs already in place.

“It’s good to have new IPAs, but they need to be fully costed for operational expenses,” he said.

“At the moment, the big question is that there isn’t an on-going commitment for operational funding, which largely comes from the working on country that was first running up until 2017.

“Since then we’ve had a verbal commitment from the minister for 2020, which is not far away.

“The important thing is to have secure sustainable funding for these programs to continue the heavy lifting their doing with conservation work and cultural heritage management all over Australia.”

Without operational funding for the current IPAs, Mr O’Leary said Indigenous groups would struggle to take care of the country.

Mr O’Leary said the funding went towards wages as well as other aspects of land management.

“How to coordinate fire over five million hectares, how to coordinate managing things like shooting camels, and what are your priorities.”

About a week ago, the Federal Government committed $30 million for Indigenous ranger training.

But Mr O’Leary explained that Indigenous ranger funding was separate from IPAs.

He said the former funded about 783 full-time equivalent positions nationally who typically work on Indigenous Protected Areas but not always.

No answers from either side of Government

Tony Burke, shadow minister for the environment and water, recently spent time at Ross River in Central Australia with participants of the related ranger program.

He told local radio the $30 million dollars was welcome, but he too had questions around what the future was for IPA funding.

But the shadow minister also could not put a dollar figure on how much Labor would commit to existing IPAs.

“I can commit that we know more needs to be done,” he said.

Meanwhile the Central Land Council has said via social media that rangers were “none the wiser” about how IPAs would fare under either Government.

Minister Nigel Scullion was unavailable for interview when contacted by ABC Rural, but a spokesperson issued a statement which said the Government had committed $1.1 billion over seven years from 2016-17 to continue the National Landcare Program, which secures the IPA programme for another five years from 2018-19.

When asked just how much of that Landcare funding would go to existing IPAs, a response was not able to be given.

However, the office expected to make further announcements shortly.

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

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