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Minister Scullion: Indigenous rangers turning the tide for the Great Barrier Reef

1 Mar 2018

Joint media release

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, the Hon, Nigel Scullion

Minister for Environment and Energy, the Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP

Member for Leichardt, the Hon. Warren Entsch MP

  • 17 Indigenous rangers have been authorised to carry out Marine Inspectors duties by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
  • Following the success of the $2 million pilot Specialised Indigenous Ranger Program (SIRP) the Coalition Government is funding a new $30 million Capacity Building for Indigenous Rangers Strategy (CBIRS) through to 30 June 2020.
  • CBIRS will provide $2.55 million over three years to the Authority to expand the successful pilot program, train additional 40 Indigenous rangers and employ up to seven Indigenous Compliance Officers.

Seventeen Indigenous rangers have been authorised to take on marine Inspector duties as part of a ground breaking initiative of the Coalition Government delivered by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

The rangers will be empowered to monitor and enforce parts of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act, working with local communities to protect the Great Barrier Reef and support marine conservation efforts.

Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion reiterated the Coalition Government’s commitment to working with Far North Queensland communities to protect the Reef.

“Indigenous rangers will be ‘eyes and ears’ in the Marine Park, helping the Authority manage and protect the Reef as well as assist local communities implement their voluntary, Turtle and Dugong Management Plans,” Mr Scullion said.

The authorisation of additional rangers across the Marine Park is a crucial and final outcome of a three year, $2 million pilot Specialised Indigenous Ranger Program (SIRP) which ended in June 2017.

Minister Scullion said building on the success of the SIRP, the Coalition Government is now funding a new $30 million Capacity Building for Indigenous Rangers Strategy (CBIRS) through to 30 June 2020.

“As part of this investment, we will provide $2.55 million over three years to the authority to train 40 additional Indigenous rangers and employ up to seven Indigenous Compliance Officers to strengthen marine conservation efforts along the Far North Queensland coast,” he said.

Federal Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg, reiterated the Australian Government’s commitment to preserve the Reef for future generations and to support the 64,000 jobs it provides.

He said the Coalition Government’s investment in rangers, both through Indigenous Rangers program and the Indigenous Protected Areas (IPA), is $550 million to 2020, which in turn is delivering 2,900 jobs for Indigenous rangers.

“The Reef forms a significant part of our national identity. Together with the $2 billion Reef 2050 Plan, this joint initiative will support rangers to use their local knowledge and expertise to improve marine conservation,” Mr Frydenberg said.

Federal Leichardt MP Warren Entsch welcomed this boost to local Indigenous ranger capacity and to employment in the region.

“Indigenous participation is critical to the ongoing management, conservation and protection of the reef,” Mr Entsch said.

“These ranger groups bring traditional knowledge passed down the generations over thousands of years to ensure that their land and sea country remains as healthy as possible.

“This ground-breaking initiative is not just enhancing our rangers’ ability to protect the reef, but is another one of the practical ways in which the Federal Government is supporting local people get into work, upskill, and ultimately get better jobs.”

The ranger groups include:

  • Apudthama Land & Sea Rangers (Injinoo, Northern Peninsula Area (NPA))
  • Hope Vale Congress Rangers (Hope Vale)
  • Yuku-Baja-Muliku Rangers (Cooktown / Archer Point)
  • Jabalbina Rangers (Mossman / Ayton / Shipton’s Flat)
  • Yirrganydji Land & Sea Rangers (Cairns)
  • Djunbunji Land & Sea Program (Yarrabah / Trinity Inlet)
  • Gunggandji Land & Sea Rangers (Yarrabah)
  • Girringun Aboriginal Corporation Ranger (Cardwell)

Find out more

Visit the Minister's website to view the original media release.

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