MORE than 120 Melville residents have leant their signatures to a giant postcard in support of Create Ranger Parks, a proposed new initiative for national parks in the WA Outback.
A community-driven concept supported by a diverse group of organisations including the Conservation Council of WA and Reconciliation WA, Create Ranger Parks proposes converting former pastoral stations into national parks managed by local indigenous rangers.
Many of the old stations are jewels of the WA Outback with stunning vistas, unique and rare wildlife and plants and examples of both indigenous and pastoral heritage.
Palmyra resident Raewyn Caisley has spent time in indigenous Outback communities and is a strong supporter of the initiative.
“I support Create Ranger Parks because it is a wonderful opportunity for indigenous people in remote communities to work on and care for their traditional country,” Ms Caisley said.
“I’m a children’s author and my new book, written with Noongar man Phil Walley-Stack, is about belonging to country.
“From my experience visiting indigenous communities in the Outback as part of researching the book, I’ve seen how important it is for young people to know and understand their culture and the land they come from.”
An assessment for the office of Prime Minister and Cabinet in July 2016 found indigenous ranger programs are transformative for communities; offering jobs in remote areas and producing improved health, education and social outcomes for indigenous people.
“The indigenous ranger programs in the Kimberley have been a resounding success, and it’s really important that aboriginal groups in other parts of WA have the same opportunities for real jobs and for maintaining their connection to country,” Ms Caisley said.
A copy of the giant postcard was presented to both the Liberal and Labor candidates for the seat of Bicton, Matt Taylor and Lisa O’Malley.