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Funding to boost job opportunities for Aboriginal rangers in NSW

Jarred Cross -

The opportunity to get on country and build skillsets for gainful employment beckons for successful applicants of a state-based ranger traineeship backed by $5.95 million in funding.

The NSW Government's Aboriginal ranger program will see 22 Aboriginal staff recruited, providing traditional land management tutelage to 16 trainees and six additional roles.

"We're giving the trainees exposure to our normal day to day work, and the type of work that they can gain experience in to hopefully get them into positions later on," Local Land Services business partner and Gamilaraay man Graham Kelly said.

"We're not directly working with land councils, but we're also very aware that we need to keep them in the loop."

The two entities will work alongside elders where possible, however the primary focus is to facilitate a connection to land and employable skillsets.

"It really has a strong cultural connection and a cultural component to it," Mr Kelly said.

"So it is identifying elements of cultural law that might apply to our work and how we look at landscapes and what sort of indicators relearning and recapturing.

"They get to work with as many of our business units as possible to give them exposure to that type of work."

Cultural burning, resource and ecosystem management, biosecurity, animal identification, pest control and culturally significant site identification training will feature throughout.

Mr Kelly was encouraged by the interest received prior to applications closing on May 23.

It should see trainees stay close to community, avoiding any need to use a placement system, ultimately allowing for an engagement and developed understanding of familiar country.

NSW Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Franklin said the program would create life-changing opportunities for communities.

"Culture and country is at the core of every Aboriginal person's identity and sense of belonging," he said.

The NSW Aboriginal ranger program is planned to launch in July should the recruitment process meet deadlines.

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