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Ricky Archer becomes first Indigenous director of National Parks

Callan Morse -

Ronald 'Ricky' Archer has become the first Indigenous person to be appointed to the role of Director of National Parks.

The proud Djungan man and former ranger from the Western Tablelands region of North Queensland enters the role with a substantial background in conservation and land and sea management.

Mr Archer said as Australia's first Indigenous person to hold the position, he is looking forward to supporting and strengthening the role of Traditional Custodians in caring for Country in partnership with Parks Australia.

"Australia's National Parks protect some of our most stunning and valuable natural and cultural assets," Mr Archer said.

"We have an amazing opportunity to make greater impact in the ways we manage our natural and cultural resources whilst supporting and strengthening the skills and expertise of our stakeholders, including Rangers, Parks Australia staff, First Nations people, community, and the conservation sector.

"I look forward to working with the Minister and Parks Australia teams across the country to continue their efforts to manage and protect our National Parks assets for the benefit of all Australians."

In his role as director of National Parks, Mr Archer will be tasked with leading the protection, management and conservation of some of Australia's most stunning natural areas including the Northern Territory's Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Parks, areas which have been impacted by issues including feral animals, a decline in tourism and ageing infrastructure in recent years.

Federal Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek, said she was proud to appoint the first Indigenous director of National Parks.

"Mr Archer brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience in joint management of parks, land conservation and sea management," Minister Plibersek said.

"I know he will work to build and improve relationships between First Nations peoples, management, and the community."

Ms Plibersek said the federal government wants to see those relationship with Traditional Owners strengthened in the joint management of National Parks.

"We know that when we lean on First Nations expertise and work together with Traditional Owners, we better protect our environment and we give visitors a better understanding of what makes these places special," she said.

Previous to his appointment as director of National Parks, Mr Archer was the CEO of the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance and has also sat on the Commonwealth's Indigenous Advisory Committee and the National Landcare Advisory Committee.

He will lead a Parks Australia workforce which has an over Indigenous employment rate of 23 per cent, a figure which increases to 57 percent in the three jointly-managed park areas.

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