A joint workshop of senior Indigenous rangers and coordinators highlighted the depth of Indigenous ranger achievements in Queensland. Rangers are engaged under the Queensland Indigenous Land and Sea Rangers and the Australian Government Working on Country programs.
Held in Cairns over two days in February, ranger participants from more than 50 ranger groups across Queensland came collaborated with officers from the Queensland and Commonwealth governments, to share ideas and experiences. The workshop proved an opportunity for networking and for the rangers and coordinators better understand how peers perform individual ranger duties on country.
Participants reviewed training priorities, collaborative work planning, building skills, workplace health and safety, and a variety of workshop exercises that assisted in the damanding work of coordinators and senior rangers.
Queensland Indigenous Land and Sea Rangers Program Manager, Dave Wildermuth said he was impressed with the growth of the ranger program in recent years and the capacity existing in ranger groups across Queensland.
“We are now coming together and discussing issues such as training opportunities, leadership and team capacity building.
It is very encouraging to see how our rangers have developed,” he said.
“The Newman Government is committed to an extra forty rangers across Queensland in the current term, which includes the first Indigenous Land and Sea Rangers in the Lake Eyre Basin,” Mr Wildermuth said.
Assistant Director from the Indigenous Policy and Programs Branch, David Crea said the hard work in building professional ranger reputation is evident. With the support of the Working on Country program, the rangers achieve long-term results for their communities.
“It is clear that Indigenous rangers are succesful in managing the threats to natural and cultural heritage in northern Queensland and that their work is nationally important,” Mr Crea said.
Currently 53 Indigenous Land and Sea rangers are employed under the Queensland program, and that number is due to grow to 80 in the next two years. There are more than 170 Australian Government supported rangers in Queensland.
The programs work collaboratively on fire, weed, feral animal and threatened species management, as well as on the collection of harmful ghost nets in coastal regions.
Mr Wildermuth said many thousands of hectares of traditional lands in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Cape York and western Queensland regions, and in the reef catchments had been better managed as a result of the programs.