The Indigenous rangers program will see a doubling of jobs with a $636 million budget boost.
The six-year funding investment announced in Tuesday night’s budget will create an additional 88 ranger groups across the country and roughly 1000 new full-time workers.
Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt said the investment would also provide incentives to raise the number of female and youth rangers in the program.
The investment matches that pledged by the Federal Labor party.
It’s been welcomed by non-profit organisation Country Needs People, which represents more than 40 First Nations land and sea management organisations.
Country Needs People chief executive Patrick O’Leary says the investment is more important than ever given the increasing impacts of climate change on Australia’s environment.
“We’re facing really challenging times with the changing climate. We’ve got a lot of pressures on our landscape: feral animals, invasive weeds, uncontrolled fire. We’ve seen the damage that comes from things like cyclones and floods that require repair, revegetation and all sorts of work.
We’re going to face challenging times, we need boots on the ground year-in, year-out to be able to do that. That’s where we’ll start to get a real presence and a real recognition of local traditional owner groups through ranger programs. These things are challenging to develop and run, we’re not under any illusions about that, but you’ve got to have the funding and that’s what this base will create.”
The budget has also put aside $37.5 million for governance of the Prescribed Bodies Corporate which manages the interests of native title-holders.