The National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health (NCEPH) and the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR) hosted a seminar on Aboriginal Ranger jobs and wellbeing outcomes in Central Australia on Wednesday 11 July.
Aunty Tina Brown of the Ngunnawal Peoples conducted the Welcome to Country
- Dione Kelly, CLC North Tanami Rangers based at Lajamanu
- Barbara Petrick, CLC Arltarpilta Inelye Rangers based at Atitjere (also known as Harts Range)
- Peter Donohoe, Central Land Council
- Roxy Jones, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Program, NCEPH, ANU
- Ray Lovett, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Program, NCEPH, ANU
Aboriginal Rangers play a crucial role in the care of country. In Central Australia, the Central Land Council (CLC) employs approximately 90 Rangers that work in small regional teams. This seminar will present perspectives from CLC Rangers about how their role and work improves country, ensures continuation of cultural practices and knowledge, and enhances wellbeing. Country and connection to country are important cultural constructs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia.
Further, this work is supported by new research findings undertaken by researchers from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Program, in the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health (NCEPH). The CLC Ranger group participated in the development of a survey, the research team then collected and analysed cross-sectional data and compared health and wellbeing measures from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples employed as Rangers (n=43) compared with non-Rangers (n=160). This study explored the link between caring for country, through participation in a Ranger program, and wellbeing.
Ranger participation was significantly associated with very high life satisfaction (PR=1.69,95%CI:1.29,2.20) and high family wellbeing (PR=1.47,95%CI:1.13,1.90); associations remained significant after individual adjustment for education, income, employment, health risk factors and health conditions. The magnitude and direction of associations were similar for very good general health, but results were not significant. We did not observe an association between Ranger participation and psychological wellbeing.
While based on a small sample, these findings support the assertion that participation in the Ranger program is associated with positive health and wellbeing outcomes. This supports the continuation of cultural participation and practice through the Ranger program and therefore has implications for funding, program and policy development.
(Picture from ABC News)