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CLC Ranger success

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Photo courtesy of Central land Council

The Indigenous Ranger program at the Central Land Council (CLC) is going from strength to strength with the help of the Batchelor Institute.

The CLC’s ranger program employs and trains people in remote communities where real jobs are scarce. Funded through the Prime Minister and Cabinet Working on Country program and the Indigenous Land Corporation Real Jobs program, the CLC’s 12 ranger groups manage cultural and natural resources on Aboriginal land. Four groups manage Indigenous Protected Areas that contribute more than 195,000 square kilometres to the national reserve system.

A significant body of evidence demonstrates the benefits of Indigenous ranger programs. Not only do they successfully tackle broad-scale environmental issues, such as wildfires and weed infestations, they also provide demonstrable social benefits such as improved health and well-being, increased individual confidence and role models for young people. The program is also critical to the maintenance of cultural knowledge and the protection of important sites.

That Aboriginal communities value the program is evident from the large numbers of people applying for a limited number of ranger jobs. The CLC’s employment model emphasises training and mentoring and provides a career pathway, both within the program and to other employment.

At the recent annual ranger camp, the CLC hosted over 130 Indigenous rangers from Central Australia. The majority of the rangers are from the 12 groups coordinated by the CLC. Also joining the CLC rangers were Tjuwanpa Womens Rangers, NTWPC Rangers and rangers from the APY lands in South Australia.

The annual event was held this year at Hamilton Downs, 1.5 hours drive north-west of Alice Springs. The week long camp a chance for ranger groups from remote locations across Central Australia to share their achievements and to participate in training activities.

Batchelor Institute Directors, Dr Stephen Hagan and Evelyn Schaber joined Batchelor Institute lecturer in Conservation and Land Management (CLM), Michael Walters, at a presentation ceremony to rangers who had completed qualifications with Batchelor Institute over the last 2 years.

33 qualifications were achieved by the rangers who received their certificates in front of their peers. A range of levels were achieved in the CLM program run by Batchelor Institute including Certificate 1, Certificate 2, Certificate 3 and Certificate 4 in CLM.

Other awards were presented by CLC for continuous employment in the program. A number of 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8 year ranger veterans were given certificates. Malcolm Kenny who has been a Tjuwanpa ranger at Hermannsburg for 10 years received a special award for his dedication to the program.

The range of qualification levels achieved alongside the continuous employment of the rangers demonstrates the strength of the program and the partnership between CLC and BIITE.

Two of the Certificate 4 graduates Josephine Grant and Benji Kenny are now coordinating ranger teams. Josephine, the first Aboriginal woman to coordinate a ranger group at CLC leads the Anmatyerr rangers based at Ti Tree. Benji is the coordinator for the Kaltukatjara rangers based at Docker River.

Another graduate Fraser Oliver has just received the ConcoPhillips Environment Award at the 2018 Northern Territory Young Achiever Awards. Fraser, 25, has completed Certificates 2 and 3, since starting as a ranger in 2015.

All of the graduates will also receive their awards at the official Batchelor Institute graduation ceremony at the Desert Peoples Centre campus in Alice Springs. This will give them an opportunity to receive awards with their training peers, and in front of their families.