Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

New jobs for Indigenous Rangers in Northern Territory

Joint Media Release with:

  • Tony Burke MP
    Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

    Warren Snowdon MP
    Member for Lingiari

    Senator Trish Crossin
    Senator for the Northern Territory

The Gillard Government is supporting another 25 new indigenous ranger positions in the Northern Territory to help protect and conserve the environment and strengthen land and sea management.

Environment Minister Tony Burke today called for applications for new Indigenous ranger positions in the Northern Territory under the Working on Country program.

Since Labor came to Government, the Indigenous Rangers Network program has grown from around 100 rangers to 680 rangers and we are on track to reach a target of 730 Rangers by June 2015.

Indigenous Rangers are involved in a range of conservation work in the Northern Territory, including helping to protect spectacular stone and gorge country on the western Arnhem Land plateau, cane toad quarantine, and protecting the nationally significant nesting sites of Flatback, Green and Olive Ridley Turtles. “The expansion of the Indigenous Rangers network is one of the most important environmental achievements of this Government,” he said.

“I have spent a great deal of time with these rangers and I am personally and passionately committed to the work they do. “Rangers in the Northern Territory are doing some of the toughest and most impressive work I know of: managing vast areas of some of Australia’s most precious land, coast and sea country, in all weather conditions.

“Their efforts are delivering significant ecological improvements to the Northern Territory, as well as social benefits to the wider community.

“Today’s announcement builds on the first round of the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory jobs package.

In November 2011, as part of Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory, the Australian Government announced a $19.1 million jobs package for Indigenous people in remote communities in the Northern Territory, including 50 new ranger positions through an expansion of the Working on Country program.

Working on Country is an ongoing program delivered under the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country initiative. It delivers important environmental outcomes and is part of the government’s commitment to address Indigenous disadvantage.

The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin said Aboriginal people had told the Government they want to be able to access jobs in their communities.

“Working on Country uses the skills and knowledge Aboriginal people have of their country and land management,” Ms Macklin said.

“We know that having a job provides all kinds of benefits – it helps lead to better health, encourages young people to get a decent education, and leads to stronger communities and local economies. v “The government’s commitment to employ additional rangers through the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory jobs package will take the total number of Working on Country rangers nationally to 730 by June 2015.”

Mr Snowdon said this year, 25 positions are on offer to new, emerging and established ranger groups, providing them with the opportunity to build capacity and participate in the highly successful Working on Country program.

“This program provides a terrific opportunity for Aboriginal men and women to harness their traditional skills to protect and preserve the environment while also having the opportunity to enjoy the financial and social benefits of work,” Mr Snowdon said.

Senator for the Northern Territory, Trish Crossin, said the new Indigenous ranger positions would ensure greater protection of some of the most pristine landscapes in the country.

“The expansion of this invaluable field of work shines a necessary and important light on the expertise of Indigenous people who have been managing and protecting these landscapes for centuries,” Senator Crossin said.

The cornerstone of the government’s expansion of Working on Country in the Northern Territory is developing employment opportunities for Indigenous people in remote regions, capturing and transferring Indigenous ecological knowledge, and delivering economic, education, social and health outcomes that are working towards Closing the Gap on Indigenous disadvantage.

Applications close on 3 May 2013.

View further information regarding the Working on Country program