In a welcome and positive step towards new regional development opportunities, the WA Greens have expressed strong backing for the community-based Create Ranger Parks initiative.
Creating Ranger Parks would involve designating a major network of new national parks and conservation parks, managed by Indigenous rangers, for all Western Australians to enjoy. Under the plan, five million hectares of former pastoral stations in WA’s Outback, purchased by government 20 years ago, would be established as tourism drawcards and protected for future generations.
The WA Greens announcement – that the Ranger Parks plan should be implemented in full – leads the way on this exciting regional initiative. The historic opportunity to convert the former stations to parks would draw new people to visit the area, create new jobs for local Indigenous people, bring fresh business opportunities to regional towns, and look after some of the precious natural heritage that makes WA’s Outback so unique.
WA Labor recently announced a $20m funding injection for Indigenous rangers in Western Australia, but have so far made no commitment to protecting the former pastoral properties, nor have they indicated whether the funds will go towards creating ranger jobs in the Mid West and Pilbara.
WA Greens Member for Mining and Pastoral, Robin Chapple, has spent significant time researching first-hand the extent of the social and economic challenges in remote communities. With that direct experience and knowledge, his support for the Create Ranger Parks proposal is encouraging.
We continue to urge political leaders from all parties to commit to creating Ranger Parks in the next term of government.