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Australian Indigenous Rangers tour to Canada

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The Hon. Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

25 October 2012


From the Kimberley to Vancouver - Australian Indigenous Rangers will be the first to take part in a new global initiative to share traditional knowledge and ideas for best practice on land and sea management.

Environment Minister Tony Burke said three rangers from the Kimberley Land Council in Western Australia and the Central Land Council in the Northern Territory will embark on a 10-day exchange with the Canadian First Nation peoples as part of the Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Land and Sea Managers Network.

Mr Burke said since Labor came to Government, the Indigenous Rangers Network program has grown from around 100 rangers to 680 rangers and we are on track to reach a target of 730 Rangers by June 2015.

“The expansion of the Indigenous Rangers network is one of the most important environmental achievements of this Government,’’ he said.

“I have spent a great deal of time with these rangers and I am personally and passionately committed to the work they do.

“This global network recognises Indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge to protect and nourish the land and sea, contributing to the social and environmental health of their own nations and the world.”

Australia led the initiative and recruited Brazil, Norway and New Zealand to form the Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Land and Sea Managers Network at the Rio+20 sustainable development conference in Brazil earlier this year.

The network will draw on Indigenous peoples and local community groups involved in land and sea management and sustainable development to build on relationships and share best practice between managers globally.

The exchange has been organised in partnership with the Pew Environment Group.

Mr Burke said the exchange marks a major step towards establishing this global network as an international forum for Indigenous people involved in land and sea management.

“We want to support these relationships so land and sea managers can learn from one another, building their capacity to achieve better economic, social and environmental outcomes, across the world,” he said.

“The network will also link Indigenous expertise in land and sea management with modern technology to improve the way we manage our environment globally.”

Daniel Oades, a KLC land and sea manager is looking forward to the exchange.

“Indigenous peoples have an important and legitimate role in helping to manage the global environment,’’ he said.

“Seeing first-hand how other Indigenous and local communities manage their environment and by sharing knowledge and building relationships with the people involved is a vital part of this work.”

This is the first of several exchanges in the lead up to the inaugural international network conference in Darwin in May 2013.

The conference will bring Indigenous peoples and local communities together from around the world to shape the network and ensure its long term viability.

Melissa George, a Wulgurukaba traditional owner from Magnetic Island in Queensland and the Chair of the Environment Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Committee, assisted with the launch of the network at Rio +20.

“I believe the network will give us an opportunity to work with other first nation peoples, their governments and non government organisations across the world and to lead the way in best practice management of land, sea and all living things,” she said.

“A global network, will help strengthen our contribution to the sustainability of our environment and communities world-wide.”

Media Contact: Joanna Vaughan 0417 354 185 or Kate Scott-Murphy 0408 433 581