The INPEX-operated Ichthys LNG development recently committed $24 million to the program to help Aboriginal rangers manage and protect land and sea country in the Top End over the next two decades.
INPEX General Manager Northern Territory Roland Houareau says Aboriginal rangers play a critical role in managing and protecting many beautiful and pristine land and sea environments in the NT.
“Together with the NT Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security, we have identified the ARGP as a strong framework to deliver our latest environmental offset program,” he says.
“The purpose of the offset program is to support Aboriginal rangers as they roll out projects that could benefit a variety of eligible species, including dugongs, dolphins, whales, turtles, sharks and birds.
“The funding is also part of a much bigger commitment by the INPEX-led Ichthys joint venture that includes $91 million of offsets over the anticipated 40-year life of the energy development.”
The Aboriginal Ranger Grants Program includes two types of grants – capital funding to purchase vehicles, boats, weed spray units and technology; and conservation and land management funding to help with feral animal management, fire and weed management, protecting threatened and iconic species, cultural management and training and skills development.
Larrakia Ranger Manager Ben Smith says the $24 million in funding and the grants program are game changers for the Larrakia Rangers.
He says the rangers successfully received grant money for a new surveying vessel for their Darwin Harbour Biodiversity Project and vehicles and weed sprayers for their weed management programs.
The Larrakia Rangers cover sea and land country from Darwin, Darwin Harbour around to Cox Peninsula, Adelaide River, Finniss River and down to Manton Dam.
Ben says receiving the grant money has meant the Larrakia Rangers have been able to bring their own local knowledge and take more of a lead for some of the conservation management projects they work on.
“For the first time, we can lead projects that Larrakia want to do rather than working with external organisations using their methodology,” he says.
“We can use our local knowledge, ideas and methods to determine how and when data should be collected.”
As a result, the rangers have completed their first project to study and count a range of different bush tucker foods, such as mud crabs, long bums and periwinkles.
“There is not a lot of data on these shellfish, and they are important to Larrakia people as a food resource,” Ben says. “They are under a lot of pressure with people who visit Darwin and take them, and we think that their mature sizes are reducing as a result.”
NT Minister for Parks and Rangers Selena Uibo says she is delighted that INPEX-operated Ichthys LNG is partnering with the Territory Government to add more value to the work of this remarkable group of Territorians.
“Their multi-million, two-decade commitment is a standout example of corporate investment in the public good,” she says.
Ranger programs supported by the Ichthys LNG Coastal Management Offset Fund include:
- Kenbi Rangers
- Garngi Rangers
- Marthakal Homelands and Resource Centre Aboriginal Corporation – Mathakal Rangers
- Mabunji Aboriginal Resource Indigenous Corporation – Li-Anthawirriyarra Rangers
- Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation – Larrakia Rangers
- Laynhapuy Homelands Aboriginal Corporation – Yirralka Rangers.