The Australian Conservation Foundation has warmly welcomed Labor’s commitment to double the number of Indigenous Rangers to 1,550 by 2020-21 and urged other parties to match this goal.
“Indigenous Rangers are on the front line of the effort to protect Australia’s special places and biodiversity from pests, weeds and uncontrolled fires,” said ACF’s Northern Australia program manager Graham Tupper.
“This program is also an important foundation upon which remote communities can establish enterprises in land management, carbon abatement and tourism.
“Despite the relatively low level of spending on Indigenous Protected Areas and Indigenous Rangers, almost 800 people are employed in full time jobs through the initiative, retention rates are over 80 per cent and there are positive flow-on effects in communities where Indigenous Rangers live and work.
“ACF welcomes Labor’s commitment to Indigenous Rangers.”
ACF’s Federal Budget submission called for the government to increase the number of Indigenous land managers to 5,000 within 10 years.
The Greens also have an existing policy to double the number of Indigenous Rangers in Australia within a decade.
“Based on its demonstrated success the expansion of this program should have the support of all parties and candidates,” Mr Tupper said.
“Enabling Indigenous communities to keep country healthy should be above politics.
“ACF urges the Coalition, Nick Xenophon and independents to back this initiative.”