Defence celebrates Indigenous success at Shoalwater Bay

Release details

Release type

Related ministers and contacts


The Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP

Assistant Minister for Defence

Assistant Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Assistant Minister for the Republic

Media contact

Ben Leeson: 0404 648 275

Release content

24 January 2023

The inaugural class of eight Darumbal trainee rangers have successfully graduated from their year-long traineeship at Defence’s Shoalwater Bay Training Area near Rockhampton, Queensland. 

The Ranger Traineeship Program is a joint initiative between Defence, its estate management operations support provider Downer Defence, and the Darumbal Aboriginal Corporation Registered Native Title Body.

The program supports participants to undertake a Certificate III in Conservation and Ecosystem Management through Queensland TAFE to complement their existing knowledge of traditional conservation practices.

Building on-the-job skills and mentoring were also included as part of the traineeship.

Assistant Minister for Defence, the Hon Matt Thistlethwaite, said the program was a great example of the Government working in partnership with industry and Traditional Owners to invest in training Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander Australians for a mutually beneficial outcome.

“The program is designed to create work opportunities for the Darumbal people in the land management of the region, while also ensuring that Australian Defence Force training areas remain sustainable and available for generations to come,” Minister Thistlethwaite said. 

The Shoalwater Bay Training Area is one of the most important Defence training areas due to its diversity of ecological features that allow the Australian Defence Force to train in multiple terrains in one location.

It is also used for important training exercises, such as Exercise Talisman Sabre between the Australian and the United States’ militaries and other allied forces.

The creation of the training program followed the negotiation of the Indigenous Land Use Agreement between Defence and the Darumbal People in 2019.

Other related releases