Peter Garrett MP, Minister for the Environment Heritage and the Arts
The Australian Government will set up a $90 million fund to train and employ Indigenous rangers.
The funding will be rolled out over five years beginning on 1 July 2008 and will be established through the Working on Country element of the Government's $2.25 billion Caring for Our Country initiative.
The Minister for Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin said the $90 million in funding would help create up to 300 jobs for Indigenous Australians in remote and regional Australia.
"The Government understands that economic and employment opportunities are critical to turning around Indigenous disadvantage," Ms Macklin said.
Environment Minister Peter Garrett said the Indigenous rangers would help protect some of Australia's most fragile environments while receiving nationally-accredited training along the way.
"Indigenous Rangers will be responsible for controlling weeds and feral animals, protecting endangered species and conserving cultural heritage, amongst other things," Mr Garrett said.
"This kind of work represents a great service to our environment and our community."
The Government has already created 44 Indigenous ranger jobs this year in South Australia, Queensland and Cape York. These rangers are about to start work on a range of projects including surveys of black-footed rock wallabies in northern South Australia and the removal of ghost nets to protect marine turtles and dugongs in the Torres Strait.
The $90 million will be allocated to projects through a competitive grants process. Organisations will be invited to apply shortly. For more information, see Indigenous Communities: Working on Country (www.environment.gov.au).
The Indigenous rangers fund is an important step to promoting economic participation, better engaging Indigenous communities and tackling Indigenous disadvantage.
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