The Nationals have today announced that new ranger positions will be created in Western New South Wales through the investment of $1.2 million to support Aboriginal people to help manage land and water around the Menindee Lakes and region.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion said funding will be provided to establish at least four new ranger positions until June 2021 to ensure Aboriginal people in Western New South Wales are employed in important land and water management roles.
The Commonwealth will work in partnership with the New South Wales Government, the Murray Darling Basin Authority, the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder and most importantly local traditional owner groups and the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council to ensure this investment delivers the best outcomes for the region.
“We invest in Indigenous rangers because it supports our commitment to improving Indigenous employment outcomes while also playing a vital role in managing and preserving environmental assets through connection and knowledge of country,” Minister Scullion said.
“Funding will also be invested to identify emerging economic opportunities in the local water industry.”
Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton, welcomed the funding and said that involving Indigenous people directly in the management of the environment would support the long-term health and sustainability of the Menindee Lakes as well as the entire Murray-Darling Basin River system.
“I am pleased to support this wonderful announcement which will see Aboriginal people in the region have an even greater role caring for their land and river country,” Mr Coulton said.
This investment builds on the Coalition Government’s record investment of more than $830 million in the Indigenous Ranger and Indigenous Protected Area programs.
The funding being announced today builds on the following initiatives to support Indigenous involvement in the management of water including in the Murray Darling Basin:
– $40 million over four years in funding for Indigenous water rights through the Murray-Darling Basin Aboriginal Water Entitlements Program;
– Reforms to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act 2005 to enable the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people manage and acquire interests in water;
– Supporting the Indigenous representative bodies in the Basin including the Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations and Murray and Lower Darling Indigenous Nations to undertake the National Cultural Flows Research Project.