The Australian Greens have welcomed the Government pressing ahead with funding for Indigenous Protected Areas, and have welcomed the renewing of contracts, but will be chasing up the role that the Department of Environment plays in the critically important programme.
“It is good the Government is getting on with funding for Indigenous Protected Areas but I note funding was announced last year and contracts could have been signed, sealed and delivered a year ago. The stalling has created unnecessary stress and things could have moved quicker.
“I have serious concerns about the confusion there is over how Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Department of Environment will conduct oversight of the programme. Traditional owners need engaged, thoughtful, technically competent support for their leadership with complex issues on the ground like large scale burning.
“I am concerned the expertise required has been diminished in the Department of Environment and that there is confusing structure within PM&C. What dedicated staff are there to look after the Indigenous Protected Area network?
“We need the Indigenous Rangers program and Indigenous Protected Areas to be functioning as best they can so that we continue to ensure natural and cultural heritage protection. I will be chasing this up when Parliament resumes”.