Australia’s Indigenous rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas policy has won a bronze award at the World Future Council Policy Awards.

The Council works to identify policies around the world that contribute towards a sustainable, just and peaceful future.

Australia picked up the bronze award for its ranger program last week – which employs more than 2500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people around the country.

Alexandra Wandel, Director of the World Future Council, says the Indigenous ranger and Indigenous Protected Area programs are “placing Australia, along with the other Future Policy Awardees, firmly on the map as an environmental leader.”

Ethiopia’s Tigray region – in the country’s north – took home the gold prize for its work in restoring land through collective action and voluntary labour. A Brazilian program providing two million cisterns for some of the country’s poorest people took one silver prize, while a Chinese law dedicated to reversing desertification took another.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion says he is proud of the government’s investment in the program., however ranger advocacy group Country Needs People says rangers “don’t know if they will have jobs this time next year” as plans to extend the program to 2020 have not been confirmed in the form of contract extensions.

The Indigenous Protected Areas program – which covers more than 65 million hectares across the country – is also waiting to receive final confirmation that it will be extended to 2023.

Image: Country Needs People Facebook