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Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Indigenous Rangers Program


The Indigenous Rangers Program (Rangers Program) assists First Nations people in managing Country according to 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.

Through the Rangers Program, 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.

The government has committed to a national expansion of the Rangers Program through a grant opportunity and by developing an Indigenous Ranger Sector Strategy to guide the future growth and empowerment of Indigenous ranger organisations across Australia.

Groups are formed to deliver on Country activities including:

  • 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.

Grant opportunity information

The Rangers Program expansion is the first open-competitive opportunity for new organisations to join the Program for over ten years. The grant opportunity is now open on GrantConnect from:

  • Monday 11 December 2023: Open
  • Monday 26 February 2024: Closing.

The three priorities for the Rangers Program expansion grant round are:

  • expanding the Rangers Program footprint into places without existing ranger programs
  • increasing the number of women rangers
  • increasing the number of Indigenous rangers working on Indigenous Protected Areas, particularly those without rangers already.

Your Ranger Program applications will need to focus on these priorities and must address at least one of them.

How to apply for the grant

To apply for the grant opportunity, your group or organisation will need to:

  • identify the area to be managed by Rangers
  • consult with the Traditional Owners, communities and local First Nation representative bodies on their priorities for Country
  • register on GrantConnect to access the grant document package consisting of the Grant Application Form, Grant Opportunity Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). FAQs will be updated regularly while the grant round is open
  • read the criteria set out in the Rangers Program Grant Opportunity Guidelines available on GrantConnect
  • address all of the assessment criteria in your application and provide detailed examples and evidence to support your claims.

The NIAA has developed an informative video about how to prepare for the upcoming grant opportunity.

For further information on what to include in your grant application, see these recordings of the Information Sessions provided by the Indigenous Rangers Program.


Refer to the slideshow transcript of the Indigenous Rangers Program: Information session two - 13 February 2024.


Refer to the slideshow transcript of the Indigenous Rangers Program: Information session two - 30 January 2024.


Refer to the slideshow transcript of the Indigenous Rangers Program: Information session one - 13 December 2023.

For more information

For more information on the application process, please email

Women only ranger groups

We value the important contribution that First Nations women bring to managing Country. 

Women rangers are vital in using traditional knowledge to keep Country and Culture healthy and strong. We must invest in women working on Country to ensure sacred women’s sites, Law/Lore, knowledge and songs are maintained and protected.

Currently, Indigenous women represent around a third of those employed as rangers.  This is why the government want us to prioritise applications from groups that plan to employ more women rangers or start new ‘women only’ ranger groups.

To help, we’ve set up a women’s only phone line and mailbox to provide information and answer questions about the expansion:

The women’s phone line and mailbox are staffed and managed by women only. All enquiries will be kept confidential.

Privacy Notice:
The National Indigenous Australians Agency (the Agency) is collecting your personal information to engage with, and provide you information and updates, on developments regarding the Indigenous Rangers Program Expansion.

Providing the requested information is voluntary. If you choose not to provide us with your information we will be unable to engage with you regarding the developments of the Indigenous Rangers Program Expansion, including providing you updates or seeking your feedback.

The Agency will not provide the information collected from you to anyone else outside the Agency unless you have given consent for us to do this, or we are authorised or required to do so by law.

The privacy and security of your personal information is important to us, and is protected by law. The Agency’s Privacy Policy explains how the Agency handles and protects the information provided by you. The Agency’s Privacy Policy also explains how you can request access to or correct the personal information we hold about you, and who to contact if you have a privacy enquiry or complaint. If you require a copy of our Privacy Policy contact the Privacy Officer at

Existing funded Ranger Program 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)



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