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Labor Ranger announcement very positive but questions remain

The Indigenous Ranger policy announced today by WA Labor has been welcomed as great first step towards implementing a proven model for conservation and Indigenous employment, an alliance of conservation organisations said today. However questions remain over Labor’s plans to expand WA’s national parks estate and the role of rangers in their management.

Spokesperson for the alliance Linda Goncalves said that Indigenous ranger programs elsewhere are a proven success story for healthy communities, Indigenous employment and conservation outcomes.

“Labor’s announcement is an important first step in laying the foundations for a WA Indigenous ranger program,” Ms Goncalves said.

“The community and conservation challenges in WA’s Outback are some of the most pressing social and environmental issues facing our state today. Equally they present some of the greatest opportunities to improve the lives and livelihoods of people in remote and regional areas.

“Expanding the area protected for conservation while also employing Aboriginal people from remote communities for on-ground management is a no-brainer for addressing these challenges.

“This is why we welcome Labor’s recognition, as part of their Indigenous Ranger policy, of the growing momentum for expanding WA’s National Park network.

“Non-government organisations have already proposed a fully costed regional development initiative known as Create Ranger Parks that incorporates both these elements – an increase to the conservation reserve and more jobs for Indigenous rangers. This visionary proposal addresses both community and conservation challenges in WA’s Outback and is supported by conservation, Indigenous and 4WD groups, as well as regional businesses.

“We look forward to further positive policy announcements regarding the Create Ranger Parks initiative from all political parties in the run up to the state election,” Ms Goncalves said.

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