Parks plan could cre­ate 200 jobs

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

A bold plan to con­vert five mil­lion hectares of pas­toral land into na­tional parks man­aged by tra­di­tional own­ers is be­ing pushed in front of politi­cians as a pos­i­tive pol­icy in the lead-up to the 2017 State Elec­tion.

The back­ers of the Cre­ate Ranger Parks plan say it would cre­ate more than 200 jobs in re­mote ar­eas, gen­er­ate re­gional tourism op­por­tu­ni­ties and sig­nif­i­cant State bud­get sav­ings.

Pew Char­i­ta­ble Trusts WA Out­back man­ager David Macken­zie said for ev­ery dol­lar in­vested in the plan, $3.70 of value would be cre­ated for WA.

“The cries for not only ranger pro­grams but also the development op­por­tu­ni­ties that go with it are stretch­ing from north of the Pil­bara right down to Esper­ance.

“In those ar­eas where we are estab­lish­ing a new park from scratch, there are quite of­ten no ex­ist­ing ranger jobs. That’s prob­a­bly one of the most ex­cit­ing ar­eas.

“We know ranger pro­grams will work, we know na­tional parks and con­ser­va­tion parks work, so in some ways it’s the bundling of suc­cess sto­ries.”

Mr Macken­zie said if suc­cess­ful the project would act as a model for the rest of Aus­tralia.

“I think we need to be high­light­ing the fact that this ad­dresses a whole range of ex­ist­ing prob­lems and saves WA tax­pay­ers money,” he said.

“When you can solve prob­lems with tremen­dously pos­i­tive out­comes at no cost to tax­pay­ers, we be­lieve that is a way to get a re­ally pos­i­tive po­lit­i­cal di­a­logue go­ing.”

Mr Macken­zie said he had vis­ited com­mu­ni­ties where chil­dren viewed work­ing as a ranger in the same light as be­com­ing an AFL star.

Nyangu­marta War­rarn Abo­rig­i­nal Cor­po­ra­tion chief executive Nya­paru Rose said ranger pro­grams got the younger gen­er­a­tion out on coun­try, men­tored by el­ders who look after coun­try.

“Liv­ing and work­ing on coun­try is like medicine for my peo­ple.

“Be­ing a ranger is mean­ing­ful work that gives us hope for the fu­ture,” she said.

Un­der the plan, in­dige­nous rangers would man­age tourism in­fra­struc­ture on the new parks, work­ing with lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and vol­un­teer groups to gen­er­ate new tourism op­por­tu­ni­ties.

The plan would en­com­pass a num­ber of Pil­bara sta­tions, in­clud­ing all of the Rio Tinto-owned leases sur­round­ing Karijini Na­tional Park. A Rio Tinto spokesman in­di­cated po­ten­tial sup­port for the idea from the iron ore gi­ant.

“Rio Tinto will con­tinue to work with the rel­e­vant gov­ern­ment agen­cies in re­la­tion to our ac­tiv­i­ties near Karijini Na­tional Park and th­ese new con­ser­va­tion es­tate ar­eas,” he said.

“We sup­port and en­cour­age the em­ploy­ment of Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple to care for coun­try and will seek to col­lab­o­rate with neigh­bour­ing prop­er­ties, so that the re­gional ben­e­fits of sus­tain­able land man­age­ment can be fully re­alised.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.