Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

A sea of blessings for patrol boat in Queensland

Joint Media Release with:

  • Senator Jan McLucas
    Senator for Queensland

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

A patrol boat provided by the Australian Government has today been blessed and is ready to take to the seas in the Torres Strait.

The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, and Senator for Queensland, Jan McLucas, who attended the event on Badu Island, said the small patrol boat will become part of one of the most technically sophisticated fleets in north Australia.

“Safety at sea is the highest priority and this patrol boat for Torres Strait Regional Authority rangers, based on Badu Island, has been built to meet the highest marine survey standards in Australia,” Ms Macklin said.

“It’s one of seven patrol boats which will enable rangers to work in a safe environment with the latest technologies, managing resources across the Mura Badhulgau sea country.”

The other boats will be based on Mabuiag, Moa, Boigu, Mer, Iama and Masig Islands.

Senator McLucas commended the Torres Strait Regional Authority for their hard work and commitment to ensuring the safety standards of the boats.

“I congratulate the Torres Strait Regional Authority for their determination to ensure high standards of safety and that the latest technologies are being used,” Senator McLucas said.

“These rangers working on land and sea are strengthening their cultural and traditional ties to their land and sea country. At the same time, they are being up-skilled and trained in things as diverse as helicopter safety escape, mangrove surveys and leadership skills.

“Today’s blessing is a very significant milestone for the Torres Strait Land and Sea Ranger Program, and for the communities it supports.”

The Minister for Environment, Tony Burke, said the Ranger Program employs 33 land and sea rangers across 14 Torres Strait Island communities under the Australian Government’s Working on Country Indigenous ranger program. This will grow to 50 rangers over the next year.

“This program provides real job and training opportunities for some of the most remote and economically marginalised communities in Australia,” Mr Burke said.

“The Australian Government has committed more than $244 million over five years for the Working on Country program to support rangers and enable Indigenous people to care for country.

“This is part of the Australian Government’s commitment to meet its environmental responsibilities, working with Indigenous people, including rangers.

“Almost 700 Indigenous rangers across 85 ranger teams are employed across Australia to deliver environmental outcomes and it’s expected that around 730 rangers will be trained and employed through Working on Country by June 2016.”