Closing the Gap for Indigenous Australians - Working on Country - Indigenous rangers 

Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage, and the Arts (DEHWA)

Key Elements

This $90 million measure will facilitate the employment of 300 additional Indigenous rangers to protect and manage the environment.

This will build on the original Working on Country program to expand opportunities for Indigenous people to work on country and provide valued environmental services. These services will include weed and feral animal eradication, fire management, fencing and vegetation restoration and the protection of endangered species.

Training will be provided for the rangers including through a nationally accredited land management qualification, supported by Indigenous knowledge.

Working on Country is an element of the Australian Government's new $2.25 billion initiative Caring for our Country.


The original Working on Country program commenced in July 2007, and is receiving a major funding boost through the 2008-09 Budget.

Working on Country provides funding for Indigenous people to deliver environmental outcomes for the Australian Government, building on Indigenous knowledge of protecting and managing land and sea country. This supports the caring for country work that Indigenous people want to do while also helping the Australian Government meet its responsibility to protect and conserve the environment.

Working on Country has two objectives:

  • To protect and manage Australia's environmental and heritage values by engaging with Indigenous people to undertake contracted work activities on country, and
  • To provide career pathways for Indigenous people in land and sea management, to move into paid employment including through nationally accredited training and through partnerships with industry and others.

Working on Country is open to Indigenous people to work on eligible country. All on-ground works must be undertaken by Indigenous people.

There are strong links between Working on Country and Indigenous Protected Areas. These areas provide a framework for bringing Indigenous land into the National Reserve System and for promoting Indigenous cooperative management of existing protected areas. Through Caring for our Country, the Australian Government supports jobs for Indigenous rangers on Indigenous Protected Areas.


Working on Country is implemented through a competitive grants process, where applicants seek funds for projects that will deliver environmental outcomes. Groups will be invited to apply for funds before the end of June 2008. The Government may also target regions for Working on Country projects.

The primary parties contributing to the implementation of Working on Country will be Indigenous communities, land management and other training providers and land councils across Australia. TAFE and other educational institutions will be major partners in the delivery of accredited training.

Total Government Funding

$90 million over five years.

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