The National Native Title Council (NNTC) has welcomed the announcement by the Labor party to double the number of Rangers employed under the Working on Country Program.
NNTC CEO Glen Kelly said the additional Rangers would increase economic development activity in remote communities as well as help Indigenous people to protect their country and culture.
“Indigenous peoples have strong connections to country; so for them to be able to earn a living caring and protecting their country is a welcome opportunity as well as a practical solution to help close the disadvantage gap”.
Both programs have shown to provide significant social benefits in a variety of areas such as employment, with opportunities for men and women alike, high retention rates and clear and effective pathways from welfare to work.
The program has also shown to have real physical and mental health benefits for participants and their communities, with strong educational outcomes and reductions in social problems.
Mr Kelly said the additional funding will provide Indigenous communities with employment and business opportunities whilst at the same time allow for people to work on their country.
“The Working on Country program provides additional employment opportunities, along with significant social benefits that allows more Indigenous people to work on country.
“This is native title at work,” said Mr Kelly. “Working on Country lets Traditional Owners practice their native title rights by protecting important environmental and cultural values, with benefits not only to Indigenous people but to the broader Australian community. Environmental assets can be protected for all future generations.
“After the long fight to have native title recognised over country, Working on Country provides resources to Indigenous communities to protect their native title,” said Mr Kelly.
“The NNTC would encourage the Coalition to match the pledge by the Labor party to ensure these important programs continue to deliver positive results for Indigenous communities”.