Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Central Australian Aboriginal ranger program receives $5.1 million boost

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Warren Snowdon MP , Minister for Indigenous Health, Rural and Regional Health & Regional Services Delivery and Member for Lingiari

An Aboriginal ranger program in Central Australia is one of eight land and sea management projects receiving funding under the latest round of grants from the Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA).

The Central Land Council (CLC) will receive $5.1 million to improve and expand an Aboriginal ranger program which has successfully developed and established ranger groups in seven remote locations across Central Australia over the past five years.

The ranger groups – which currently employ a total of 70 rangers – are located at Docker River (Kaltukatjara Rangers), Hermannsburg (Tjuwanpa Rangers), Santa Teresa (Santa Teresa Rangers), Ti Tree (Anmatyerr Rangers), Tennant Creek (Muru-warinyi Ankkul), Yuendumu (Walpiri Rangers) and Lajamanu (Wulaign Rangers).

The ABA grant will be used to undertake a feasibility study into the establishment of three regional training and operational hubs to service the needs of ranger groups in the southern, central and northern parts of the CLC region. It will support the development of a strategic business framework to guide the long-term sustainability of the CLC Ranger Program.

The grant will also provide critical operational and capital funding to allow ranger groups to expand the scope of their on-ground operations in regional weed, fire and feral animal management work across Aboriginal lands in the southern NT. It will support the purchase of essential maintenance of vehicles and machinery (such as power tools, weed control equipment, GPSs and safety equipment) to increase the scope of work for existing rangers.

Central Australian rangers are quickly gaining recognition for the environmental work they are doing. The Tjuwanpa Rangers from near Hermannsburg won a Northern Territory Land Care Award in 2009, and were shortlisted for a national landcare award this year.

CLC ranger groups have also recently undertaken contracts with the NT Parks and Wildlife Service and the mining industry for work including track maintenance, fencing and camp-ground development.

Other Land and Sea Management projects awarded ABA grants include:

  • $603,000 for the Thamarrurr Development Corporation in Wadeye to support the Thamarrurr Rangers in wildlife enterprise projects. These projects include crocodile farming and crocodile egg collection, harvesting and selling bush foods such as billygoat (or Kakadu) plums and sugarbag honey, and using local produce to make natural body products (such as soaps, lotions and shampoo).
  • $326,000 for the Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation in Maningrida to purchase a new sea vessel for the Djelk Rangers. The new vessel will allow the Djelk Rangers to continue their work along the coast of Arnhem Land, providing costal surveillance under an agreement with Australian Customs. The rangers also gather bio-security information, monitor commercial fishing, remove marine debris and monitor cultural sites.

ABA grants are awarded to projects to open up new opportunities for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory by providing the funding essential to getting new initiatives off the ground and backing established ventures to expand and develop.

The ABA receives financial compensation from the Australian Government equal to the value of the royalties generated from mining on Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory. It was established under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976.

Aboriginals Benefit Account Land and Sea Management approved projects – June 2010
Organisation Project Funding approved $
Central Land Council Aboriginal Ranger Program in Central Australia $5,110,150
Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation Djelk Rangers sea vessel $326,645
Department of Natural Resources, Environment, the Arts and Sport Infrastructure at Gregory National Park $94,500
Jawoyn Association Aboriginal Corporation Jawoyn combined ranger program $476,875
Laynhapuy Homelands Association Sea country management infrastructure and resources $402,015
Laynhapuy Homelands Association Weed control $54,599
Thamarrurr Development Corporation – Thamarrurr Rangers Sustainable Use and Management of Wildlife Resources $603,000
Wagiman Land & Cattle Aboriginal Corporation Wagiman Upper Daly River Land Trust Cultural Activities $303,598