21st May 2018
As part of a recently announced $30 million federal government program, 40 new indigenous rangers will soon be patrolling the Great Barrier Reef.
Trained by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the rangers will be instated to help monitor remote regions of the protected Marine Par, patrolling sites between the tip of the Cape York Peninsula and Gladstone.
According to GBRMPA senior compliance officer, Peta Ross, “it is a massive resource for us on the ground, in particular in locations which can be remote and difficult for us to get into quickly.”
One trainee ranger, Jessica Vakameilalo from Bowen in north Queensland, is excited about the opportunity to protect her peoples land.
“I’m pretty proud to be a part of this, really honoured. Once we have this all in play we can go back to the old people and reinforce our laws on that land and protect land and sea,” she said.
“I’m only one person, but getting the community involved and educating everyone will be the key to this.”
Tobias Asse-Flinn began working towards his formal qualifications last week. At 21-years of age, Tobias currently patrols sea country, 26,000 sq km from Port Alma and Woongarra Coast to the Capricorn Bunker out in the Great Barrier Reef.
Responsible for ensuring everyone is behaving themselves out in the GBRMP, he monitors and works with those operating in the region.
"For the traditional owners, that's making sure they are hunting in their own country," he said.
"It's very important to have Indigenous rangers working on country.
"When there's people out hunting, they'd rather be approached by Indigenous rangers than (Parks and Wildlife Service).
"It's awesome, I love it. I'm so privileged to be in this position and to have this job, especially at such a young age,” Asse-Flinn said.