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Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Indigenous Rangers Program

The Indigenous Rangers Program (IRP) assists First Nations people to manage Country in accordance with Traditional Owners’ objectives. Indigenous rangers use traditional knowledge and cultural practices, combined with western science, to manage land, river and sea Country and deliver environmental, cultural, social and economic development outcomes.

About the Indigenous Rangers Program

Through the IRP, the Australian Government acknowledges and supports First Nations peoples’ unique, critical and continuing role in managing and protecting Australia’s natural and cultural heritage and is increasing investment in programs that assist First Nations peoples to care for and connect with Country. This includes a national expansion of the IRP and the development of an Indigenous Ranger Sector Strategy to guide the future growth and empowerment of Indigenous ranger organisations across Australia.

Types of ranger activities

The range of activities that IRP groups undertake include:

  • engaging with community and Traditional Owners to plan land and water management activities
  • fire management - cultural burning and bushfire mitigation
  • biodiversity conservation - habitat and threatened species management, invasive species management, freshwater and sea Country management
  • strengthening First Nations language and Culture
  • cultural heritage protection and maintenance
  • intergenerational knowledge transfer, education, training and capability development
  • biosecurity monitoring
  • partnerships with research, education, philanthropic and commercial organisations
  • building and retaining employment in the Indigenous Land and Water Management sector.

Indigenous Rangers Program expansion

The Government plans to double the number of Indigenous rangers to 3,800 the end of the decade and to work towards gender equality in ranger positions. To achieve this, $636.4 million has been dedicated to expand and develop the IRP.

Through competitive grant opportunities, the IRP expansion will lead to an increase in ranger jobs by funding more ranger positions in existing organisations, and by establishing new ranger groups. The IRP expansion will be the first open-competitive opportunity for new organisations to join the program for more than 10 years.

A forecast grant opportunity for the IRP Expansion Round One has now been released on Grant Connect.

Indigenous rangers grant opportunity updates

When funding opportunities become available you will need to register with GrantConnect to apply. 

To receive the latest information about upcoming grant opportunities, please email 

Funded Ranger Group Locations

Locations of existing Australian Government funded Indigenous Ranger groups are outlined on this map: Indigenous Protected Areas and Commonwealth Funded Ranger Groups Map - PDF 1.6MB.

Details of the funded organisations and their projects are available at the interactive Indigenous land and sea management map.

Indigenous Rangers Program As at 1 June 2023
Number of organisations


Number of ranger groups


Approx. employment (including full-time, part-time and casual)


Murray-Darling Basin Indigenous River Rangers Program

The Murray-Darling Basin Indigenous River Rangers program was established in 2021 to empower Indigenous organisations to improve waterway health, manage Country and sustain the Basin's valuable environmental assets. The program consists of 5 five Indigenous river ranger groups who support environmental and cultural outcomes across the Murray-Darling Basin. Total funding of $14.56 million has been made available from 2021-22 to 2025-26 through this program.

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