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The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

$31.1 million for Working on Country projects

Media release
2 January 2009

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Eight Indigenous communities, ranging from the arid Western Desert lands in Western Australia to the blue waters of the Torres Strait in Queensland to bushland and granite country in Guyra New South Wales, will receive $31.1 million over five years to conserve and protect our natural assets for all Australians.

Announcing the grants Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, Peter Garrett, said the eight Working on Country projects were funded under the Government's $2.25 billion Caring for our Country.

Mr Garrett said the projects provide ongoing jobs and training for over 80 Indigenous rangers and builds on the 130 Indigenous ranger positions already created under Working on Country.

“With these latest projects we continue to provide real employment opportunities for Indigenous people in remote and regional communities,” Mr Garrett said.

“Indigenous men and women from South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland and New South Wales will be part of unique ranger groups who work in some of Australia's harshest and most remote environments that cover millions and millions of hectares.

“Within these environments there are some really complex eco-systems and landscapes that are a millennia old," said Mr Garrett.

“In the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands of South Australia, the rangers work includes a recovery plan for the threatened and culturally significant Warru - the black-flanked rock wallaby. Over in the Western Desert of Western Australia, the rangers will provide environmental services across two million hectares of culturally significant country that contain seven known threatened animal species.

“Working on Country enables Indigenous people to combine their traditional knowledge with modern land management practices, to better manage and protect our ecosystems in a changing climate.

“Covering over 32,000 square kilometres, the environmental services of eight Torres Strait Island communities includes monitoring turtle and dugong populations and surveying significant terrestrial ecological environments.

“These projects across Australia contribute to the Government's goal to engage with Indigenous people to manage our land and seas and attain greater independence through employment.

“Working on Country is part of our whole of Government approach toward ‘Closing the Gap’ for Indigenous Australians and an investment that will bring long-term environmental benefits for the country as a whole,” Mr Garret said.

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