Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

NRL Tackles Indigenous Health and Social Disadvantages

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Warren Snowdon MP, Minister for Indigenous Health
    The Hon Kate Ellis MP, Minister for Sport

The Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon, the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, and the Minister for Sport, Kate Ellis, today congratulated the National Rugby League (NRL) on dedicating this weekend’s Round 23 to national efforts to improve the life expectancy of Indigenous Australians.

Mr Snowdon and Ms Ellis will both be travelling to Sydney today to watch the South Sydney Rabbitohs take on the Gold Coast Titans at ANZ Stadium.

‘The NRL should be proud of its Indigenous history, and I am pleased that they have joined the effort to close the gap,’ Mr Snowdon said.

‘Indigenous men have a life expectancy 11.5 years less than non-Indigenous Australians and the Rudd Government has set the target to close that gap within a generation,’ said Mr Snowdon.

‘Together with the state and territory Governments, we have committed $1.6 billion to act on that pledge, but addressing this appalling disadvantage requires a partnership with Indigenous people, and the support of all Australians.’

Ms Macklin said improving Indigenous health has the commitment of the whole-of-government.

‘We are working with Indigenous communities across education, employment, infrastructure and health to give Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people the opportunity for better lives,’ Ms Macklin said.

‘In a sports mad country like Australia, our footballers have a special ability to draw attention to and work to address challenges being faced in the broader community,’ Ms Ellis said.

‘The Close the Gap round is another great example of the incredible power of sport and the NRL’s commitment to tackling Indigenous disadvantage.’

Tonight’s match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Gold Coast Titans will feature a number of the code’s best Indigenous players, including South Sydney’s Chris Sandow and Nathan Merritt and the Gold Coast’s Preston Campbell and Scott Prince.