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Tuesday, 7 February 2017
Page: 26

Mr RICK WILSON (O'Connor) (13:41): I rise today to update the House on a new program this government has committed to that will deliver real jobs for Aboriginal people in my electorate of O'Connor. The Indigenous Rangers program has helped disadvantaged youth find real jobs in communities all over the country since it was introduced in 2007. A ranger program founded by Les Schultz and Peter Price for the Ngadju people, traditional custodians of the southern goldfields, has grown in stature since it was launched in 2010. On the back of this success, the government committed $660,000 in November to a new ranger program in the region, run by the Goldfields Land and Sea Council. The youth engaged in this program will help protect and conserve threatened species and cultural places, and address environmental threats such as feral animals and invasive weeds. But the merits of this program go beyond employment opportunities; it is an opportunity to help Indigenous youth connect with their heritage by preserving iconic biodiversity and cultural sites on the Goldfields' Aboriginal Estate.

With the government's support, six new rangers have been added to the team and the rangers are currently exploring ways to engage the local business community. I visited Kalgoorlie-Boulder this month to meet the team leader, Trevor Donaldson Jr, and Darren Forster, who was instrumental in helping the Land and Sea Council secure the grant, and also the team members who were doing their induction. It was fantastic to see that funding commitment delivering real jobs within a matter of months. I thank the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, for coming to Kalgoorlie-Boulder with me last year and pledging his support for this program.