The Hon Tony Burke MP
Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
Indigenous Rangers of the world visit Australia
22 May 2013
Indigenous Rangers from Mexico, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa and New Zealand have arrived in Australia to participate in World Indigenous Network exchanges with rangers from communities across Australia.
The Comcáac People of Mexico will experience the magnificence of the National Heritage Listed West Kimberley, the New Zealand Maori rangers will retrace the steps of descendants of the Aboriginal people from Yalata in South Australia, the African rangers will learn more about joint management of the iconic Kakadu National Park and the Solomon rangers will continue their exchange journey with rangers across the Torres Strait Islands.
Environment Minister, Tony Burke said the exchange of traditional ecological knowledge between Indigenous communities has been happening for generations and he is proud the Australian Government has helped facilitate these exchanges.
"Australia has taken a lead on the World Indigenous Network because we strongly value traditional knowledge and skills to help protect our land and sea not just here in Australia but across the globe," Mr Burke said.
"We're providing a fantastic opportunity for Indigenous land and sea managers from all over the world, including our rangers, to continue to share their experiences and learn from each other.
"The expansion of the Indigenous Rangers network in Australia is one of the most important environmental achievements of this Government. Since we came to office, this program has grown from 100 rangers to more than 700 rangers employed in environment and biodiversity protection and cultural heritage conservation. I see this as one of our most important environmental achievements."
In the West Kimberley, the rangers will learn and share experiences on cultural heritage management, skilling up on the operation of a raindance machine to learning about the basics of collecting and working with medicinal plants to create tinctures, balms, soaps and other products.
On Kakadu National Park the African rangers will see first-hand joint management of this World Heritage listed place including rock art sites and experience Aboriginal owned tourism businesses, Guluyambi Cruise and the Injalak Arts Centre.
In southern Australia near Ceduna, the Yalata rangers will take the Maori rangers on a historical cultural journey to Ooldea, an important meeting place for the Aboriginal peoples of the region for many centuries and travel across to the Great Australian Bight, gaining an insight into the dreaming stories linking the landscapes.
The land and sea managers will then travel to Darwin to join more than 1200 delegates at the first ever World Indigenous Network Conference on 26 May 2013, which will set the stage for the development of domestic and international land and sea manager networks.
The Australian Government thanks Oceans Revolution, Parks Forum Victoria and The Thin Green Line Foundation for assisting in the organisation of these exchanges.