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Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Indigenous Rangers Program Funding Extension Update 1

Indigenous Rangers Program Funding Extension Update 1

Indigenous Affairs Environment Indigenous Rangers Programs
Friday, 14 August 2020

National Indigenous Australians Agency

Indigenous Rangers Program

15.10.20 Note: The NIAA acknowledges the passing of Ms Gigari George, a Wulgurukaba woman with traditional connections to Magnetic Island and the Townsville region in Far North Queensland and member of the Indigenous Rangers Independent Reference Group (IRIRG). The NIAA extends its deepest sympathies to Gigari’s family and puts on record its gratitude for her service to the work of the IRIRG and broader contributions over many years as an environmental educator and leader in Indigenous land and sea management. Gigari leaves a legacy through her tireless advocacy that has led to more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia having the opportunity to protect, care for, manage, access, enjoy and benefit from their traditional lands and waters. The NIAA will leave Gigari’s position on the IRIRG vacant as a mark of respect.

Update 1: 14 August 2020

On 10 March 2020, Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, and Minister for the Environment, the Hon Sussan Ley MP, jointly announced the extension of the Indigenous Rangers Program from 2021 to 2028. The decision to extend the program recognises the valuable role Indigenous rangers play in conserving biodiversity and preserving cultural heritage nationally. Funding for the extension will support the continuation of existing Indigenous Rangers projects funded through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS). The long-term funding will enable organisations to take a more strategic approach to their land management activities.

Funding will be implemented through a targeted grant round. Organisations already funded through the IAS to deliver Indigenous Rangers projects will be invited to apply.

Organisations who would like to apply for funding for new ranger groups can apply for a Community Led Grant. More information about funding under the IAS and community led proposals is available on the Grants and Funding page on the website.  

In preparation for the targeted grant round the NIAA is developing new Indigenous Rangers program guidelines. The guidelines are being developed in consultation with IAS-funded ranger organisations, experts in the environment and Indigenous land and water management sectors, and other key stakeholders.

Indigenous Rangers Independent Reference Group

The Minister for Indigenous Australians committed to establishing an expert reference group to help ensure the program remains contemporary and continues to improve opportunities for the Indigenous land and water management sector. The NIAA has established the independent reference group to help oversee the consultation process and the development of new grant opportunity guidelines.

Members of the expert panel have been chosen for their expertise in key areas, including the environment and Indigenous land and water management sectors.

Indigenous Rangers Independent Reference Group Membership:

Chair:  Mr Ryan Bulman (NIAA)


  • Ms Tina Bain
  • Mr Oliver Costello
  • Ms Teagan Goolmeer
  • Mr Joe Morrison
  • Associate Professor Dr Dale Nimmo
  • Mr David Ross
  • Professor Stephen Van Leeuwen
  • Ms Lisa Nitschke (NIAA)

The first meeting of the reference group was held on Thursday 2 July 2020. The group discussed a wide range of topics, including:

  • ensuring a wide range of Indigenous voices and views are heard through the consultations
  • future aspirations for the Program
  • assistance some ranger organisations may need to develop longer-term strategic plans in response to the seven year funding.


The NIAA is consulting with IAS-funded ranger organisations and key stakeholders to understand their experiences with the Program and how it can be improved to better meet their needs through the next funding cycle.

The consultation provides an opportunity for two-way dialogue, enabling the NIAA to:

  • understand how the Program can be improved based on rangers’ experiences
  • develop new grant opportunity guidelines based on this feedback
  • share information with the ranger organisations on the grant process.

The first round of consultations began in late July 2020, with a focus on the Program’s objectives and outcomes. A second round of consultations is scheduled for September 2020 and will focus on how the Program can be improved in its delivery and operations.

Further updates will be published on a regular basis. For more information contact