An Australian Government Initiative

Regional Development Australia

Eyre Peninsula Aboriginal Rangers Program

23 November 2018

In October 2017, Regional Development Australia Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula (RDAWEP) was contracted by the Australian Government Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources to develop a scoping study for the implementation of an Aboriginal Rangers Program for Eyre Peninsula (Program).

The Program is intended to provide services to just under 100 coastal conservation parks and national parks, and 14 Aboriginal community owned or controlled lands. Over the five year period it will engage with 204 Aboriginal Rangers and/or Aboriginal high school students.

The Program will combine traditional knowledge with conservation training to support local Aboriginal organisations to protect and manage their land, sea and culture into the future. It will be linked to the education system with the three major high schools in the region agreeing to introduce an Indigenous Ranger Cadet Program into the curriculum. The intention is to have 12 students per year per school take part in the program and obtain “Ranger” related skills that are also very transferrable to other vocations.

The scoping study found Aboriginal Ranger programs offer real and culturally meaningful jobs and opportunities for sustainable economic independence in remote areas where jobs are often hardest to find. They are also an employment success, with retention rates of 80% in the most successful programs.

An analysis commissioned by the Office of Prime Minister and Cabinet found that a $35.2 million investment from government generated social, economic, cultural and environmental outcomes valued at $965 million. That is a 30:1 return on investment.

The cost of providing this service is approximately $13 million for five years or $2.6 million per year. This equates to $64,000 per person, not including the administration support that is provided, over five years.

The scoping study suggested the program be delivered by four Eyre Peninsula based Aboriginal organisations and provide services from Ceduna to the west, to Port Lincoln in the south, to Whyalla in the north and all in between.

RDAWEP is working with the Eyre Peninsula Natural Resource Management Board to secure funding to operationalise the implementation of the Program.  The program will be jointly managed by Eyre Peninsula Natural Resource Management Board (EPNRM) and the Aboriginal organisations. The work will be jointly planned with EPNRM being the funding proponent and reporting group.

More information about the scoping study and progress towards operationalising the program is available here