Rangers require funding
Aboriginal rangers from across the Top End attended the annual conference, which was held at Timber Creek in the VRD.
Ranger groups from across the Top End of the Northern Territory have sent a unanimous message to policy makers – that funding for Aboriginal ranger programs must continue past 2013.
Since 2007, the Northern Land Council has been contracted by the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) and Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (SEWPaC) to deliver 86 FTE positions across 20 communities in the Top End.
These positions are to provide environmental services, as part of the jobs created through the NT Emergency Response (a total of 290 FTE land and sea management positions for the entire NT).
The week-long conference provided a rare opportunity for rangers from NLC Caring for Country unit and community funded programs to exchange ideas and develop future strategies for working on country.
NLC Manager Land and Sea Management Justine Yanner said the conference represented the last opportunity for ranger groups to meet, before the current funding model expires in 2013.
“The various workshop held during the conference showed the vast array of work being undertaken by Aboriginal ranger groups across the NLC region and demonstrated the important roles these groups play in preserving the diverse lands and seas that lay in the Top End,” Ms Yanner said.
“It provided a real snapshot of just what is being done out there on the ground and how important it is that these programs continue.”
Ms Yanner said fire abatement programs being conducted by rangers across Central and Western Arnhem Land had the potential to capitalise on the emerging carbon credits markets, while many ranger groups were now undertaking cost recovery works for a range of stakeholders.
“National Parks, pastoralists and Shire Councils are now beginning to see the benefits of engaging local ranger groups who are well-trained and equipped and, most importantly, have an intrinsic knowledge of the country they work on,” she said.
“In Timber Creek, for example, the rangers are undertaking more and more work in Jutpurra National Park and also on pastoral leases from across the V-R-D.”
NLC CEO Kim Hill said that ranger programs also presented Aboriginal peoples with the skills required to branch out into private enterprise by starting their own contracting businesses.
“We’ve already seen that happen here in Timber Creek with the emergence of the Bradshaw Contracting Company, which has recently won a series of major contracts with the Australian Defence Force,” he said.
“Daniel Jones, with assistance from NLC officer Greg Kimpton, has started a company which is growing from strength to strength and, most importantly, putting local Aboriginal people into meaningful and ongoing employment.”