Indigenous rangers helping to protect the Reef

More Indigenous rangers will soon be out on the water enforcing Marine Park laws, helping to manage and protect the Great Barrier Reef and their sea country.

Twenty-one Indigenous rangers were awarded Certificate Four in Government Investigations at the Capacity Building for Indigenous Rangers Strategy graduation ceremony in Cairns today.

The nationally-accredited training course by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority provides rangers with the skills to ensure Marine Park users comply with its rules and traditional lore.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Chairperson Dr Ian Poiner said many of the rangers lived and worked in remote communities.

“It is invaluable having their local knowledge and insights to partner with fellow Traditional Owners to protect their sea country and support the traditional management of their estate,” Dr Poiner said.

“The Authority understands that having an effective and meaningful partnership with Traditional Owners is essential to protect cultural and heritage values, conserve biodiversity and enhance the resilience of the Reef.

“Supporting partnerships with Traditional Owners through Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreements and increasing participation in land and sea country management, including through Indigenous ranger programs, is a priority for the Authority.”

The course comprised 13 subjects, including training on country, learning about legislation, and how to give evidence in court.

The training also included work within their ranger or land and sea country management groups, with partner agencies such as the Authority, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol over the past nine months.

Wilfred Peter, from the Yintjingga Aboriginal Corporation based at Port Stewart on Princess Charlotte Bay, is one of the graduating rangers and is keen to educate the community about Marine Park rules.

“I am proud to be a ranger and — now with these qualifications — there’s greater recognition of our role in looking after country,” Mr Peter said.

“Being on country most of the time, we see a lot of visitors doing the wrong thing.

“With myself and Karen — who is one of our senior rangers — completing the course, it will give us powers to ensure people do the right thing and follow the Marine Park rules. This enables us to keep our country strong and healthy for our next generation.”

The program is part of the Australian Government’s $30 million Capacity Building for Indigenous Rangers Strategy to 30 June 2020.

This is the second round of rangers who have graduated through the program, which is on track to train 75 rangers in total. The next round of training starts in May.

Images of today’s graduation are available to download here (© GBRMPA, by Colyn Huber).

Photo 1: Indigenous compliance rangers graduated in Cairns today. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Board Chair Dr Ian Poiner and Authority CEO Mr Josh Thomas.

Photo 2: L-R Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority CEO Mr Josh Thomas, Indigenous compliance ranger Wilfred Peter, Authority Board Chair Dr Ian Poiner.

Please see link to overlay footage featuring the graduating rangers doing training at Mungalla Station in May last year (© GBRMPA, by Leigh Harris).

IMPORTANT NOTE: This vision is not to be copied, printed, published, or reproduced in any way for any other purpose without prior written permission from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
Media team | (07) 4750 0846 |