THE Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA) is against a proposal to create a major parks network in WA that could to create more than 200 Indigenous ranger jobs and unique tourism opportunities in the Mid West.
The lobby group believes improving the State's response to wild dogs would be a more effective way of strengthening the Rangelands.
The 'Create Ranger Parks' plan, launched in Kings Park last week has been backed by Reconciliation WA, the Pew Charitable Trusts, 4WD peak body Track Care WA, Conservation Council of WA and Indigenous ranger organisations from the southern Rangelands.
The proposal involves converting five million hectares of former pastoral lease properties, collectively twice the size of the South West, into national parks to be managed by Indigenous ranger teams.
PGA president Tony Seabrook said the association's stance was clear - it wasn't supporting the plan.
Mr Seabrook said money could be better spent than investing $115 million so ranger groups could maintain 66 properties spread over five million hectares in the Mid West Gascoyne region over a 10-year period.
"This is an investment to something of $12m a year," Mr Seabrook said.
"If there is any money available at all, well what's scourging the Rangelands right now is the wild dogs."
Mr Seabrook said the proposal talked about creating "real jobs" but he argued if government spent the same amount on money to close the Murchison vermin cell fence gap, it would create more careers.
"Closing the gap would protect more than 50 Murchison properties, and if they manage to get the dogs out of there and bring the land back into productivity, you would have ample jobs," he said.
"You could create shearers, fencing contractors, yard builders, transport operators, food suppliers, the list is endless - it's a huge difference," he said.
"The difference from unallocated crown land to a national park would mean rangers looking after it, but you can't create a national park.
"Yes, at certain times of the year you have a few Australians who want to travel up there, but I don't think a few rangers on certain properties would attract the whole of Perth to have a look.
"I have heard this before, but I feel that it's a warm fuzzy, feel-good proposition to employ a bunch of Indigenous rangers."
Mr Seabrook said the government needed to seriously address wild dog issues.
"There is no point having a national park when there is no native animals left in it," he said.
"I don't think we will see a change in terms of fire or vermin control if it turns into a national park.
"No one can protect it better than a pastoralist who owns the property."
The proposal said Indigenous rangers would manage the land by combining western scientific and traditional Aboriginal knowledge.
"Much of the rangers' core business in ranger parks involves managing major threats to wildlife, protecting cultural heritage and maintaining infrastructure," the proposal said.
"Following established trends elsewhere in Australia the rangers may also offer cultural tourism opportunities or secure government contracts to deliver services in remote locations."
Non-profit conservation group Pew Charitable Trusts presented the proposal to the State Government last week, wanting it to be largely government funded.
Pew Charitable Trusts WA Outback manager David Mackenzie said the plan would marry two of Australia's great success stories - Indigenous ranger programs and national parks.
"These properties were purchased by the government for conservation 20 years ago due to their high natural and cultural heritage values," Mr Mackenzie said.
"These values need to be protected into the future as part of the conservation reserve and through hands-on management by locally recruited Indigenous rangers," Mr Mackenzie said.
An independent economic assessment of the plan by Social Ventures Australia found that 212 ranger jobs or 100 full-time equivalent rangers would be created and further jobs generated in tourism and other industries associated with management of the parks.
Nyangumarta Warrarn Aboriginal Corporation chief executive officer Nyaparu Rose said the ranger program was important because it encouraged the younger generation to get onto the country and be mentored by elders who look after country and significant cultural sites.
"The rangers work with our cultural ways, but we also bring in professionals and scientists to work with us, to help protect and care for country," Ms Rose said.
Track Care WA chairperson John Collins said its volunteers had already assisted in the restoration of pastoral heritage sites on proposed parks.
"We welcome increased management on the former pastoral lease properties," Dr Collins said.
"We particularly welcome the opportunity for more Western Australians to access and enjoy these properties now and into the future."
All 66 properties are subject to native title claims and the proposal will only go ahead on traditional owners' agreement.