Service crew

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service teams up with Aboriginal rangers

For the first time in New South Wales, an organization of Aboriginal rangers has been officially named honorary rangers of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

Environment Minister James Griffin said the Gamay Rangers now have the same operational authority as NPWS rangers and field officers in Kamay Botany Bay National Park and Towra Point Nature Reserve.

“The appointment of the Gamay Rangers of La Pérouse as Honorary Rangers of the NPWS is an important recognition of their expertise and knowledge in protecting the country,” Mr. Griffin said.

“As honorary national park rangers, the Gamay team will work alongside the NPWS team on the park to share traditional knowledge and techniques, and be involved in the operations of national parks in their country.

“This is a vital partnership and another step towards reconciliation. As the site of first contact in 1770 between the Gweagal and Bidjigal peoples and Europeans, Kamay Botany Bay National Park is one of Australia’s most important reserves.

The NPWS will continue to manage Kamay Botany Bay National Park and Towra Point Nature Reserve, and the Gamay Rangers will support the NPWS in conservation and compliance work, including marine mammal protection.

The NPWS recently trained Gamay rangers on how to safely attempt the dangerous and delicate job of rescuing entangled whales off the coast.

Chris Ingrey, CEO of the La Pérouse Local Aboriginal Lands Council, said he was delighted to partner with the NPWS to help protect the sea country around Botany Bay.

“As a saltwater people, the protection and enhancement of our maritime nation is vital as it has sustained our people for thousands of years and today still provides cultural fishing activities within our community,” Ingrey said.

“Whales, especially the humpback whale, are an important ancestor (totem) of our people and ensuring that our people were trained and ready to participate in dangerous operations to save our totems was one of our goals. .

“We are keen and ready to work with the NSW Government to protect our maritime country into the future for our future generations.”

Indigenous Affairs Minister Ben Franklin said the work of Indigenous rangers is important to improving social, cultural, economic and environmental outcomes.

“Aboriginal peoples have a long-standing connection to the area known as Kamay Botany Bay National Park and have a vibrant and active association with this land and sea,” Franklin said.

“This partnership recognizes the role of the Gamay Rangers and helps to ensure that their cultural practices and knowledge are included in the management of their country’s national parks.”

Cronulla MP Mark Speakman said Kamay Botany Bay National Park and Towra Point Nature Reserve are important sites for the Aboriginal community.

“The La Pérouse Aboriginal Land Council and the Gamay Rangers are passionate about sharing their knowledge and protecting the sea around Botany Bay and this partnership is a natural step in managing the area,” Mr Speakman said. .

“It is fitting that cultural knowledge, held and preserved by Indigenous peoples, is now being shared with park staff, the community and visitors.

“I am delighted that Kamay and Towra Point are the first places in New South Wales where honorary Aboriginal rangers work alongside our dedicated parks staff.”

In addition to the honorary ranger program, the NPWS has an Aboriginal ranger program which employs trainees in Narooma and Merimbula.

Trainee rangers work for the NPWS during their graduate studies, and upon completion of the program they are given a full-time ranger role with the NPWS.

Around 12% of NSW’s National Parks and Wildlife workforce is Indigenous, which is significantly higher than most other public sector agencies.

The New South Wales government recently launched a consultation on the development of a revolutionary new model for co-management of NSW national parks, which could see title to the entire estate transferred to the native owners over time.

/Public release. This material from the original organization/authors may be ad hoc in nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author or authors. See in full here.