• Lama Lama Rangers Lisa and Virginia Peter. Lama Lama Rangers work to protect some of Australia’s most beautiful land and sea country in Cape York. (Annette Ruzicka)
A new report is urging the Australian Government to increase funding for female Indigenous ranger jobs and Indigenous Protected Areas.
By
Madeline Hayman-Reber

Source:
NITV News
18 May 2018 - 9:24 AM  UPDATED 18 May 2018 - 9:28 AM

The release of the Strong Women on Country report has been a call to action for the Government to increase the number of female Indigenous Rangers, and Indigenous Protected Areas.

The report outlines that women rangers are important to not only the environment, but to communities as well.

"Indigenous women are core to protecting our natural and cultural heritage, at the same time as delivering positive social outcomes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities," Sophie Walter from Country Needs People said.

"The report is a testament to the incredible work of Indigenous women rangers and supports the call to grow more ranger jobs across our Indigenous protected Areas."

Strong Women on Country urges the Australian Government to double funding for Indigenous ranger jobs and Indigenous Protected Areas over five years, commit to 10 years of funding, and support a long term target of 5000 jobs in Indigenous land and sea management across the country.

Women rangers gathered together in Melbourne this week for the launch of the report, one of those women was ranger Jody Evans.

“Looking after country is important to me because my mum and dad was doing it before I was, so now it’s my turn to look after country," Ms Evans told SBS.

“My role as a ranger is basically protecting wildlife and making sure fishing and fisheries are done properly, and making sure all wildlife is in good shape."

She had spent over 15 years working in an office at Centrelink when she decided to make the career change, and she hasn't looked back.

“It was about time to go out bush and protect the country," she said.

“Country to me is like life. We have to look after country, that way country look after us. The way we look after country is by protecting our wildlife such as dugong, like our mammals and mainland stuff.

“So when we do look after our wildlife, they’re there to help us in the future.”

On a daily basis, you'll find the women rangers tackling environmental threats such as feral animals, invasive weeds, destructive fires, as well as taking on cultural site and tourism infrastructure maintenance on their own country.

"Employment as rangers empowers women and has transformative benefits for our environment, Indigenous families, communities and the women themselves," Ms Walter said.

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