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Indigenous Ranger Sector Strategy

What is the IRSS?

An Indigenous Ranger Sector Strategy (IRSS) is being developed to guide the future growth and empowerment of community-based Indigenous ranger organisations across Australia. The development and delivery of the Strategy will be a collaborative effort by Indigenous Australians, governments, and the private sector.

On 6 April 2022, the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) released the Indigenous Ranger Sector Strategy - Consultation Draft. The Consultation Draft was informed by, and aims to respond to, feedback from Indigenous Ranger Program organisations currently funded by the Australian Government, Indigenous land and water development projects and state and territory government agencies. The NIAA consulted with interested stakeholders and received constructive feedback on the proposed approach.

Indigenous ranger organisations shared their aspirations and the challenges they face in program delivery and building organisational capacity.

Vision and purpose

The purpose of the Strategy is to support a collaborative, national approach between Indigenous, government and private sector stakeholders to address the challenges and aspirations of rangers over the next six years and into the future. The vision is to develop an Indigenous ranger sector that is empowered to manage Country sustainably, strengthen culture, provide economic and career opportunities for Indigenous people and communities, and have a recognised role and voice in land and water management. The Strategy aims to support the wider aspirations of rangers and ranger organisations, beyond funded programs.


A strategy about the Indigenous ranger sector must be built around Indigenous people’s views, priorities and aspirations and input from their partners and other stakeholders. The starting point for the Strategy was to listen to what Australian Government funded ranger groups had to say about their challenges during the consultations held in 2020 to inform the extension of the Indigenous Rangers Program 2021-2028.

Over May and June 2022, the NIAA held virtual workshops and invited interested stakeholders to have their say through surveys and written submissions. We heard from a total of 258 participants who participated through 44 surveys, 30 written submissions and 25 workshops.

The formal consultation period closed in July 2022 and the NIAA has concluded analysing the feedback provided.

Feedback from consultation

The NIAA appreciates all the stakeholder participation and feedback received on the Consultation draft.

We heard some valuable ideas from stakeholders about how to improve. Key themes included that the Strategy needs to better reflect the important connection between Country and culture and embody First Nations’ land and water management goals and Traditional Owner priorities. It was also clear that stakeholders want a greater emphasis on the importance of First Nations-led, local and regional initiatives to support sector development. A summary of what we heard from stakeholders is provided below.

Next steps

The NIAA will work with a First Nations-led Indigenous Rangers Reference Group to finalise the Strategy, in consultation with other Commonwealth, state and territory partners.

We will take what we have heard and look for opportunities to improve the Australian Government’s Indigenous Ranger Program with the Government’s additional funding of $636.4 million to expand this Program.

Indigenous Ranger Reference Group

The NIAA is establishing an Indigenous Ranger Reference Group. The Group will provide independent input to:

  • provide Indigenous-led guidance to finalise the Indigenous Ranger Sector Strategy following feedback received through consultation; and provide direction on a National Action Plan to support the sector;
  • develop the scope for a future Indigenous Ranger (or land and water management) industry body;
  • provide advice and perspectives to inform the Indigenous Rangers Program expansion; and
  • provide advice and perspectives to inform other strategic level initiatives relating to development and support of the Indigenous land and water management sector.

The NIAA released a call for Expressions of Interest seeking to contract members to the Reference Group for up to two years.

Expressions of Interest are now closed.

Feature your ranger group in the published Strategy

Do you have a photo or image that can be used to illustrate the great work your ranger group is doing?

If you have great photos showing Indigenous rangers carrying out their activities, please send them to us at with a brief description, your contact details and your permission to use the photos PDF 928 KB | DOCX 1.2 MB. We are looking for a variety of contemporary photos - examples are land and water management in a variety of environments, biosecurity, using technology, working with youth, training and learning, working with partners.

Contact us

You can contact the NIAA for further information about the Strategy at


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