La­bor pledge for in­dige­nous jobs

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Tom Zaun­mayr

WA La­bor has pledged a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar in­vest­ment into in­dige­nous ranger pro­grams if elected in March.

An­nounc­ing the pol­icy in Dampier on Mon­day, Op­po­si­tion Leader Mark McGowan said $20 mil­lion would be ear­marked over five years to boost Abo­rig­i­nal in­volve­ment in man­ag­ing their tra­di­tional lands.

Mr McGowan said sim­i­lar pro­grams ini­ti­ated by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment had seen sub­stan­tial ben­e­fits for Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple, in­clud­ing in­creased mo­ti­va­tion, cre­ation of new com­mu­nity role mod­els, and health and well­be­ing ben­e­fits from be­ing on coun­try.

“The so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits of in­dige­nous ranger pro­grams have been far and wide reach­ing, pro­vid­ing an in­te­gral step to­wards im­proved com­mu­nity well­be­ing and re­duced poverty in re­gional and re­mote com­mu­ni­ties,” he said.

“These are real jobs that will pre­vent wild­fires and the pro­lif­er­a­tion of feral an­i­mals and weeds in ar­eas that would oth­er­wise be un­man­aged.

“We will re­spond to the grow­ing de­mand for jobs on coun­try and pro­vide a way to in­te­grate eco­log­i­cal, so­cial and cul­tural val­ues to gen­er­ate eco­nomic growth in re­mote in­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties.”

The pro­gram would be an ex­ten­sion on the suc­cess of sev­eral suc­cess­ful part­ner­ships in the North West be­tween Abo­rig­i­nal ranger groups and the Depart­ment of Parks and Wildlife.

The Ngur­rawaana Ranger pro­gram, which op­er­ates in and around Mill­stream-Chich­ester Na­tional Park, has pro­vided on coun­try em­ploy­ment to Yind­jibarndi peo­ple liv­ing in the re­mote com­mu­nity of Ngur­rawaana for sev­eral years now.

Rangers work on re­mov­ing in­va­sive weeds, con­duct­ing flora and fauna sur­veys, and in­stalling in­fras­truc­ture such as sig­nage and fences.

Late last year, a plan backed by a range of non-gov­ern­ment, com­mu­nity and Abo­rig­i­nal or­gan­i­sa­tions launched the Cre­ate Ranger Parks plan, call­ing on the State Gov­ern­ment to com­mit to con­vert­ing five mil­lion hectares of for­mer pas­toral leases into na­tional parks man­aged by in­dige­nous ranger teams. An as­sess­ment of the plan by So­cial Ven­tures Aus­tralia found that 212 ranger jobs would be cre­ated and $3.70 of value would be cre­ated by the plan for ev­ery dol­lar spent.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

Kings­ley Wood­ley is part of the highly suc­cess­ful Ngur­rawaana Ranger pro­gram which op­er­ates in Mill­stream-Chich­ester Na­tional Park.

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