22 Mar 2022


Australia’s recent 2022-23 Budget has allocated $634.6 million over six years from 2022-23 to expand the Indigenous Rangers Program via the National Indigenous Australians Agency. This much-needed funding aims to fund 1089 new rangers by 2026-27 and 88 new ranger groups nationally. In response to this announcement, WWF-Australia’s Indigenous Engagement Manager Cliff Cobbo explains what this investment means to First Peoples, in their ongoing efforts to heal and protect Country.

“WWF-Australia welcomes the support to double the number of Indigenous rangers caring for Country, and looks forward to seeing their impact expand across this vast continent.

It’s important all Australians understand the unique and deep relationship Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have with our traditional lands and seascapes.

The Indigenous Rangers Program has been a successful example of how governments and Indigenous communities can work in partnership to create meaningful employment and at the same time be an opportunity for people to stay connected and care for their country.

Indigenous Rangers continue to exercise their knowledge, passion and cultural authority in being the First Peoples and Traditional Custodians of this place we all call home. But there is so much more to be done to support the opportunity for Indigenous women to exercise their rightful place in caring for Country.

We need to do more to provide safe and culturally-appropriate pathways for Indigenous women to fulfill their vital role in looking after Country. More investment in expanding the recruitment of women rangers is required to fill this obvious gap in the current plan. The spiritual connection has never been broken, but we need to physically return people to Country, for they are one in the same.

Cultural fire is just one example of best practice to improve the health of Country, and mitigate against the threats of bushfires. There is so much more to Traditional Land Management, and there so much more positive change we can champion. For instance, Saltwater Country needs healing more than ever, and we need to support Indigenous Ranger Programs who work so hard to protect sacred places like the Great Barrier Reef.

A vision for Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) needs to be realised to capture the full potential of these dedicated areas under the stewardship of local custodians. Innovative IPAs of the future can demonstrate that the Indigenous management of biodiverse traditional lands and seascapes will help meet the challenge of climate change. This is clear through the cannon of knowledge that has sustained its peoples for over 60,000 years.

Discover why Traditional Knowledge is so vital to healing Country

The challenge for all of us is to look into the future, learn and share from the past and realise the potential of people and nature, for we are one and the same. “ - Cliff Cobbo, Indigenous Engagement Manager, WWF-Australia (Wakka Wakka nation)

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