Aboriginal Ranger Program
The State Government’s Aboriginal Ranger Program is delivering jobs, training and community development opportunities for Aboriginal people across a range of tenures in regional and remote communities across Western Australia.
The current Western Australian Aboriginal Ranger Program (ARP) is an $83 million State Government investment, which includes $66.5 million allocated over five years from 2021–26 through phase 2 of the program, and a further $16.5 million in 2026-27. The program aims to help Aboriginal organisations manage country and protect the environment across the State, in partnership with the public and private sectors. Funding is available for jobs for Aboriginal rangers, training, community development as well as research, tourism and other expansion activities.
The individual ranger programs are led by Aboriginal people and the ARP is administered by the Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. The ARP is largely funded by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Royalties for Regions.
The program began in 2017, with $20 million invested into 35 ranger programs. By the end of 2021, it had delivered more than 800 jobs for Aboriginal people, as well as significant land and sea management outcomes. In 2021, the McGowan Government acknowledged the importance and success of the program and committed an additional $50 million to continue the project to 2025. Another $16.5 million was later added, bringing the total ‘phase 2’ commitment to $66.5 million over five years. Another $16.5 million has been committed for 2026-27, which is yet to be designed as part of ‘phase 3’.
The Aboriginal Ranger Program sought to build on the existing work of Aboriginal ranger groups throughout the State, in recognition of the social, cultural and environmental benefits these programs were already producing.
The program helps Aboriginal organisations employ and train Aboriginal people as rangers, coordinators and other management and support staff to undertake land and sea management activities including:
- biodiversity monitoring and research
- traditional knowledge transfer
- fire management
- cultural site management
- feral animal and weed management
- cultural awareness for visitors
- guided welcome to country tours and/or talks for visitors
- management of visitors or tourists and tourism assets education programs and mentoring
DBCA's Aboriginal Ranger Program funding is provided across three streams, recognising the diverse needs of ranger programs at different stages of development.
The Development Fund was created to provide support to new and emerging ranger programs, empowering Aboriginal organisations to build strong foundations for long term success. The first round of this fund was open in 2022. $10 million was allocated to 17 organisations, supporting the development of the new ranger programs. You can read about their projects in the download section below.
The second round of this fund is now open. Up to $13 million is available for new and emerging ranger programs. There are two categories of funding in this round:
• Small grants (up to $150,000) for organisations looking to start a ranger program seeking assistance with the planning and preparation.
• Large grants (over $150,000) for organisations that are ready to start their ranger program and need assistance employing rangers, or are in the early stages and need support building capacity.
Detailed information about this round is available in the Round 7 Funding Guidelines. Any clarifications or changes to the Guidelines since they were published will be noted in the General Advice to Applicants document in the download section below.
This round is open until 5pm AWST on Monday 9 October 2023.
Applications must be submitted via DBCA’s SmartyGrants portal. They will not be accepted by email or post, or after the closing time.
Please read the Round 7 Guidelines carefully before starting an application.
If you have any questions about this round, please email ARP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Expansion Fund was created to support established ranger programs as they grow their activities and develop longer-term career pathways for rangers.
The Expansion Fund was fully allocated in 2022. $22.8 million was distributed to 14 Aboriginal organisations, supporting over 100 ranger jobs for up to four years.
The Innovation Fund was created to fund special projects that explore creative approaches to ranger work, and provide learnings that will benefit the ranger sector. This fund was open in early 2023 and is now closed. Applicants will be notified of the outcome at the conclusion of the assessment process.
Grant writing workshop
To support ranger teams in the process of writing grant applications, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions offered a Grant Writing Essentials webinar via Zoom. Hosted by Tara Whitney from Whitney Consulting, the webinar was held on 3 August 2022 and gave participants an overview of best practise grant writing.
In April 2023, Round 6 of the Aboriginal Ranger Program – the Innovation Fund – was launched. The assessment phase has been completed and this funding has been awarded to the below recipients:
|Applicant||Project Title||Period||Funding allocated|
|Mantjiljarra Yulparirra Pty Ltd trading as Tarlka Matuwa Piarku Aboriginal Corporation (TMPAC)||Western Desert Youth Rangers - Developing co-mapping and media skills||2 years||$337,226|
Wilinggin Aboriginal Corporation
|Marrirrin di Drone Program||2.5 years||$439,465|
Indigenous Desert Alliance
|Southern Deserts Right Way Fire Project||2.5 years||$1,643,625|
|Nyamba Buru Yawuru Ltd||Baluyi Bilarra Bundurr Bundurr - Plants of the Wetland & Pindan||2.5 years||$354,777|
Nowanup Noongar Boodjar Ltd
|Integrating Cultural Fire and Contemporary Burning in the Great Southern||2.5 years||$291,419|
Binalup Aboriginal Corporation
|Planning for a Binalup-Tambellup Fauna Sanctuary||2 years||$415,105|
|Maarli Services||Interactive gnammas mapping in Eastern Wheatbelt Rangers||2.5 years||$1,653,193|
Winjan Aboriginal Corporation
|Bindjareb Boodja Baldja Ranger Innovation Project||2.5 years||$1,275,504|
Badgebup Aboriginal Corporation
|BAC Skills and Innovation Hub||2.5 years||$1,840,068|
|Undalup Association Inc||Ni Kidji Gnangkaa Boodja - Listening to Mother Country||2.5 years||$1,172,485|
Budadee Aboriginal Corporation
|Budadee Native Seed Facility||1.5 years||$757,990|
Noongar Land Enterprise Group
|Noongar Land Enterprise Group Rangers||2.5 years||$827,557|
Recipients of rounds 1 to 3 can be viewed on this map
An expert Reference Group has been established to assist DBCA on an ongoing basis to shape the design and roll-out of the second phase of the Aboriginal Ranger Program. The group’s Terms of Reference can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.
Members of the Reference Group were invited on the basis of their skills and practical knowledge of Aboriginal ranger programs, and were selected from across all regions of WA. Aboriginal and gender representation were also key considerations in forming the membership, and the group has committed to improving female representation in its membership over the next 12 months. Members of the Reference Group are listed below.
|Rhonda Murphy||Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions||Chair|
|Julie Melbourne||Nyamba Buru Yawuru Ltd||Kimberley|
|Kevin Walley||Bundundea / Yulella||Mid-west|
|Les O'Neil||Malgana Aboriginal Corporation||Mid-west|
|Lindsey Langford||Indigenous Desert Alliance||Western Desert|
|Nerida Haynes||Terra Rosa Consulting/ Jidi Jidi Aboriginal Corporation||Pilbara|
|Oscar Colbung||Southern Aboriginal Corporation||South coast|
|Helen Langley||Ngadju Conservation Aboriginal Corporation||Goldfields/Esperance|
|Francis Khan||Woolkabunning Kiaka Aboriginal Corporation||Southwest|
|Phoebe Martin||Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation||Kimberley|
|Kane Watson||Northern Agricultural Catchments Council||Mid-west|
|Clinton Farmer||K Farmer Dutjahn Foundation Ltd||Central Desert|
|Stephen van Leeuwen||Curtin University||Stakeholder advisor|
|Peter Murray||Country Needs People||Stakeholder advisor|
|Justin McAllister||South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council||Stakeholder advisor|
The following agencies also have standing invitations for representatives to attend as observers:
- Minister for Environment office
- Minister for Aboriginal Affairs office
- Department of the Premier and Cabinet
- Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development
- National Indigenous Australians Agency
- West Australian Indigenous Tourism Operators Council
- Tourism Western Australia
- Western Australian Local Government Association
Members of the public are also able to contribute to the work of the Reference Group by using our online form to provide comments, suggestions and feedback for consideration.
To obtain a copy of the latest reference group minutes, please contact email@example.com.
- New Aboriginal Ranger Program grants available - Friday 11 August 2023
- New round of funding for Aboriginal Ranger Program -Tuesday 11 April 2023
- Aboriginal Ranger Program Round 5 recipients announced - Wednesday 14 December 2022
- Round five of the Aboriginal Ranger Program now open - Friday, 1 July 2022
- Aboriginal Ranger Program Round 4 recipients announced - Wednesday, 29 June 2022
- 22 million dollar boost to Aboriginal Ranger Program as funding round opens - Friday, 25 February 2022
- Expert advisory group to shape $50 million expanded Aboriginal Ranger Program - Friday, 4 February 2022
- Aboriginal Ranger Program Round Three recipients announced - Sunday, 20 September 2020
- Aboriginal Ranger Program Round 3 applications open - 09 April 2020
- Aboriginal Ranger Program Round 2 recipients announced - 11 September 2019
- One month left to apply for Round 2 of the Aboriginal Ranger Program - Friday, 15 February 2019
- Aboriginal Ranger Program Round 2 applications open - Friday, 15 February 2019
- Funding for Aboriginal rangers delivered - Saturday, 10 February 2018
- Interest sought for Aboriginal Ranger Program - Saturday, 10 February 2018