Call for multi-billion environment stimulus package

Posted: July 13th, 2020

Nyangumarta rangers marking flatback turtle nests at the Ramsar site, Eighty Mile Beach WA.

A coalition of Conservation and Farmers’ lobby groups are calling for a multi-billion environment stimulus package to help create jobs in rural and regional areas found to be hardest hit by coronavirus. Indigenous Rangers and Land and Sea Management were identified as a key existing framework through which to increase effective stimulus into the regions.

A report prepared by Ernst and Young on behalf of more than 70 organisations found that a $4 billion national program spend would generate 53,000 jobs, reduce welfare costs by $630 million and raise economic output by $5.7 billion over the next four years – with economic gains rising to $9.3 billion over the next 20 years.

As the native title representative body for the Pilbara and Yamatji regions of Western Australia, Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC), fully supports this initiative that could potentially expand critical Indigenous Land and Sea Management programs across our representative regions. It would be highly beneficial for Traditional Owner groups and broader communities across the Mid West, Gascoyne and Pilbara regions of WA.

Aboriginal Ranger programs YMAC are involved in, deliver vital environmental services and projects including tree planting, weed control, feral pest eradication, fire management, threatened species projects and capacity building.

Ernst and Young said particular benefits of the regional environmental stimulus is an opportunity to employ many workers with no previous experience and accommodate workers who have lost their jobs in other sectors.

Creating funding streams that are specifically for Indigenous land and sea management and Indigenous organisations, that deliver real jobs with proper operational funds over longer time frames, is a key element of ensuring Indigenous equity of access to stimulus.  It raises the prospect of ongoing – rather than ephemeral – employment benefits in the regions.

Specifically, increasing funding to known models like Indigenous Ranger jobs and Indigenous Protected Areas is more likely to deliver results that endure, and ensure practical benefits are realised at the local level in regional and remote areas.

The groups calling for the environment stimulus spending include Landcare, National Farmers Federation, NRM Regions Australia, Australian Land Conservation Alliance, Australian Conservation Foundation and Pew Charitable Trusts.