Investing in Indigenous cultural and natural resource management

18 November 2021

Indigenous rangers are essential in managing the vast cultural and natural resources of northern Australia.

Indigenous cultural and natural resource management (ICNRM) creates many environmental, social, cultural and economic benefits for all Australians.

The ICNRM sector has grown quickly in recent decades, driven by investment from Indigenous communities and government agencies. To keep growing and getting stronger, ICNRM needs larger and more diverse funding sources.


Larrakia Rangers standing around a troopy.

Indigenous cultural and natural resource management would benefit from non-government investment. Photo: Larrakia Rangers.


This Northern Australia Hub project was led by researchers from CSIRO. Motivations for investment, priority areas and impacts sought were identified for 4 key investor groups – Indigenous organisations, the corporate sector, the philanthropic sector and government fee-for-service customers – as well as challenges and recommendations for each group.

Three case studies – with Larrakia Rangers, the Kowanyama Aboriginal Land and Natural Resource Management Office and Kalan Enterprises – show how local community co-investment in ICNRM successfully occurs alongside external investment.

Climate change documentary at Kowanyama with rangers, Qld

Filming a climate change documentary in Kowanyama, Qld. Photo: Kowanyama Aboriginal Land and Natural Resource Management Office.


The recommendations from this research aim to enable Indigenous organisations and enterprises to diversify their income streams in ways that also benefit the investors. A key central recommendation is to establish a ‘marketplace’ where investors and customers can meet and match their mutual interests with ICNRM providers.

Read more about the outcomes from this research, including the final report, on the project page.


kalan rangers and justin perry collecting samples

Kalan Rangers and Justin Perry collecting samples. Photo: Michael Lawrence-Taylor.

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