The Australian Government will invest in a new Indigenous ranger team and the development of a cultural heritage management strategy to better protect dugongs and turtles around Green Island, off Queensland’s Far North Coast.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, and the Member for Leichhardt, Warren Entsch, said today the investment would protect turtles and dugongs in the northern reaches of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, particularly around Green Island.
“The Government is providing the Gunggandji Prescribed Body Corporate Aboriginal Corporation with $750,000 over two years to establish the ranger team. This will include $77,000 to develop a Gunggandji cultural heritage management strategy,” Minister Scullion said.
“The five new Gunggandji rangers will provide job opportunities for Indigenous people to care for their country and take on important skills and develop career pathways.
“In addition to protecting dugongs and turtles, the Gunggandji rangers will manage environmental threats stemming from feral animals.
“The rangers will work to protect threatened species on Gunggandji land and sea country by reducing the damage feral pigs, horses and dogs cause to the local environment.”
Mr Entsch said that this new initiative complements a range of measures already being implemented under the Government’s Dugong and Turtle Protection Plan, which will enhance the protection of marine turtles and dugongs in Far North Queensland and the Torres Strait.
The plan includes $2 million over two years to establish a Specialised Ranger Programme to improve marine conservation and strengthen compliance powers of Indigenous rangers along the Far North Queensland coast.
“In addition, I’m currently drafting a Private Member’s Bill that would see a ban on hunting of any species in Green Zones in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Area,” Mr Entsch said. “It would also prohibit meat that is taken for traditional and ceremonial purposes under the Native Title Act being transported around Australia.
“I’m firmly of the view that the transport of meat is against the spirit of the Native Title and opens up unacceptable opportunities for commercialisation of the product. I’ve spoken to many indigenous leaders who share this view.
“Together, all these actions will support the great work of our Indigenous Rangers and help to ensure marine turtle and dugong populations thrive and can be seen in the wild by future generations.”