40 rangers to patrol the Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is a natural wonder, stretching 2,300 km along the east coast of Australia and covering 344,400 km2 – an area larger than Victoria.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is responsible for managing this vast area. Following the completion of a pilot program in 2017, 17 Indigenous rangers have been accredited as Marine Inspectors to assist the Authority to protect the unique flora and fauna of the Reef.
Following the success of the pilot program, $2.55 million will be provided over three years to the Authority to train 40 Indigenous rangers to work on the reef as Marine Inspectors under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act. Once they are accredited, these Rangers will operate as the eyes and ears of the Authority along the barrier reef coastline with the qualifications, experience and confidence to perform their Marine Inspector roles.
The rangers will also assist their local communities to implement voluntary Turtle and Dugong Management Plans, which aim to monitor and regulate the traditional harvest of these protected species.
To support their ongoing training and development, funding will also support the employment of up to 7 Indigenous Compliance Officers. The Marine Inspector accreditation allows the rangers to take the details of people suspected of non-compliance to fishing or maritime regulations on the Great Barrier Reef. As rangers develop their skills and experience, they will have the opportunity to obtain further accreditation to enable the use of broader powers.
This program is funded under the Australian Government’s new $30 million Capacity Building for Indigenous Rangers Strategy.