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Indigenous ranger funding in WA

AAP logoAAP 11/01/2017 Rebecca Gredley

Indigenous ranger programs would receive $20 million over five years if WA Labor wins the March election, but the state government says the announcement is a "poor imitation" of what is already being delivered.

Opposition leader Mark McGowan said the Department of Parks and Wildlife would administer the program, which would focus on jobs for rangers to look after WA state parks, Indigenous protected areas and other Indigenous tenures.

He said the roles would prevent wildfires and the proliferation of feral animals and weeds in areas that would not otherwise be managed.

"We will respond to the growing demand for jobs on country and provide a way to integrate ecological, social and cultural values to generate economic growth in remote Indigenous communities," he said.

Indigenous rangers would require accredited conservation and land management qualifications to work on biodiversity monitoring and research, fire management, feral animal and weed management, cultural site management, and school education programs and monitoring.

But environment minister Albert Jacob said Aboriginal ranger programs already operated with DPAW throughout the state, enabled by Indigenous land use agreements and joint management arrangements.

"In the Kimberley alone, the state government has spent $16.8 million since 2011 on more than 220 new Aboriginal ranger jobs and the engagement of traditional owners," he told AAP.

Mr Jacob said the $103 million Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy had created six marine parks and national parks that were jointly managed with traditional owners.

The Liberal-National government will commit more than $4 million a year under Indigenous land use agreements into the future, he added.

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