Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Kicking goals on and off the field

The AFL’s Flying Boomerangs Leadership Program is helping young Indigenous players kick goals on and off the field.

Twenty-five young Indigenous football players are participating in an intensive three-day course in leadership and development in Melbourne this week.

The team consists of under-16 Indigenous players from across the country, selected on their character, leadership and football ability.

Equipping young football players with leadership skills helps them to be positive role-models and boosts their confidence to provide leadership in their communities.

Talented Indigenous football players have the ability to inspire and motivate other young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to follow their dreams.

The AFL has been incredibly proactive in encouraging Indigenous children to get involved in sport as a way of improving self-esteem and encouraging physical activity.

The Government in partnership with the AFL committed $2.4 million over three years for the AFL All Stars Ambassador Program and AFL Club Fostering Program to benefit Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory and South Australia.

Members of the 2006 Boomerangs team Malcolm Lynch (Western Bulldogs), Isaac Weetra (Melbourne Demons) and Joe Anderson (Carlton) have since graduated to AFL clubs and are now mentoring young Indigenous players through the AFL All Stars Ambassadors for Life Mentoring Program.

This program uses positive Indigenous AFL role models, who undergo leadership training, to mentor Indigenous young men for a minimum of 12 months.

The Flying Boomerangs toured South Africa in February this year.