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Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Page: 1087

Mr O'DOWD (Flynn) (13:55): I take this opportunity to support the new Aboriginal Ranger Program in the port city of Gladstone in the electorate of Flynn, having met with the Aboriginal community leaders last week who presented Gidarjil in Central Queensland. They have proposed a sea ranger program to satisfy the demand for skilled, trained and experienced rangers in the area. Gladstone will be front and centre with a plan to preserve marine life in the Gladstone harbour.

There are academic benefits also. It will keep children in school longer. It will give them more education when they leave school. School leavers will have a higher level of education and understanding. There are also employment opportunities for the Aboriginal community in and around Gladstone and in the Aboriginal shire.

The program will be heavily involved in the environmental space. Rangers can study up to 180 courses, including 5,000 competencies to handle issues affecting the environment. The plan is for the program to be economically sustainable in the long term. It will also develop educational and environmental outcomes and reflect the views of the land's traditional owners and the managers of the sea country. I will raise this proposal with the Minister for the Environment and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs.

I think this project, with an initial investment from the government, would see long-term social, environmental and economic returns. (Time expired)