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Minister Scullion: $2 million to strengthen compliance powers of Indigenous rangers
The Australian Government is investing $2 million over two years to establish a Specialised Indigenous Ranger Programme to strengthen the compliance and enforcement powers of Indigenous rangers in Far North Queensland and the Torres Strait.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, and Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, said the new programme would create new employment and training opportunities for Indigenous rangers through the Reef Trust.
The programme will create five new Indigenous compliance officer positions, up to three Indigenous permitting officer positions and provide compliance training for up to 20 Indigenous rangers as part of the Government’s $5 million Dugong and Turtle Protection Plan.
“The new Specialised Indigenous Ranger Programme will be an essential component of the Government’s strategy to protect dugongs and turtles and constrain the poaching and illegal trade in dugong and turtle meat,” Minister Scullion said.
“In line with the Government’s priority of ensuring that as many Indigenous people as possible are working in real jobs, the programme will assist with developing career pathways for Indigenous rangers to work in compliance-focused roles – including in government agencies.”
Minister Hunt said that this is one of a series of new projects under the Dugong and Turtle Protection Plan that focuses on increasing protection.
“These iconic species are a vital part of the Great Barrier Reef marine ecosystem,” Minister Hunt said.
“Dugongs and turtles face a number of threats to their survival such as poaching, illegal hunting and marine debris and we are putting in place measures to reduce the impacts of these threats.”
The Government will fund four full-time Indigenous compliance officer positions at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to carry out compliance activities and support compliance training for up to 20 Indigenous rangers.
One Indigenous compliance officer position will be funded at the Torres Strait Regional Authority to develop the compliance capacity of Torres Strait rangers.
The programme will also support the implementation of voluntary permit systems for up to four Cape York communities, including the creation of up to three Indigenous permitting officer positions.
The Specialised Indigenous Ranger Programme will include community engagement and education regarding Indigenous participation in compliance and management of dugongs and turtles.
Once trialled in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, the Specialised Indigenous Ranger Programme will be used as a model to potentially increase compliance and enforcement training for Indigenous rangers around Australia and link them to similar certification and support from State managed compliance programmes.