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First Nations supporting a healthy Basin

First Nations people across the Basin are continuing to play an active role in protecting and managing the land and their culture thanks to the Murray–Darling Basin Indigenous River Rangers Program.
Published: 12 August 2021

The program is one of several initiatives under the Murray–Darling Communities Investment Package and allows river rangers to use their knowledge and connection to Country and water to manage and restore rivers and wetlands across the breadth of the Basin.

The Barkandji river rangers, based in Menindee, New South Wales, are actively involved in preserving and supporting the Darling (Baaka) River. For the past 3 months, the Barkandji river rangers have been out on the river once a week collecting information about oxygen levels and temperature. The work is being done under the guidance of the MDBA and the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries and aims to provide agencies with a broader understanding of water quality.

Work such as this is now more likely to continue in other parts of the Basin with the Australian Government recently awarding funding to the following organisations to establish 5 new Indigenous river ranger groups:

  • Border Ranges Contractors
  • Dharriwaa Elders Group
  • First People of the Millewa–Mallee Aboriginal Corporation
  • Yarkuwa Indigenous Knowledge Centre Aboriginal Corporation
  • Nari Nari Tribal Council

Each of these organisations applied for funding to be part of the Murray–Darling Basin Indigenous River Rangers Program, which will allow at least 27 new positions to be created in these areas.

The latest Indigenous River Rangers Program grant round also saw the Barkandji Native Title Group Aboriginal Corporation secure more than $4.2 million funding to continue the Barkandji river rangers’ operations until 2028.

More information about the Indigenous River Rangers Program is available on the National Indigenous Australians Agency website.

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