Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

NIRS broadcast of AFL to benefit Indigenous Australians

Joint Media Release with:

  • AFL Queensland, Australian Football League

Indigenous people across Australia will keep up to date with all the latest AFL action thanks to a partnership between the Australian Government, the Australian Football League (AFL) and the National Indigenous Radio Service (NIRS).

Four AFL games a week, including the finals’ series and grand final, will be broadcasted by NIRS from Friday 20 April. NIRS provides programming to more than 160 Indigenous radio stations as well as Indigenous content for about 120 other Australian radio stations.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough said the Australian Government’s co-sponsoring of the AFL broadcast on NIRS was recognition of the important role footy played in the lives of Indigenous Australians.

“AFL not only showcases outstanding Indigenous football talent, but provides a centrepiece for Indigenous people which can unite and uplift communities,” the Minister said.

“It also provides Indigenous youth with positive role models who have showed through sport, education and hard-work, Indigenous Australians are capable of achieving great things.”

Mr Brough said the NIRS AFL broadcast was not only popular with Indigenous audiences, but was taking the game throughout south-east Queensland and into metropolitan Brisbane for fans of the game there.

“The NIRS broadcast of AFL has a huge following within the Indigenous community but a growing number of other Australians also appreciate the expert commentary provided by Indigenous commentators in the broadcast,” he said.

Mr Brough said the NIRS broadcast of football continued the close relationship the Australian Government, Indigenous Australians and the AFL had developed.

Gillon McLachlan, AFL Chief Broadcasting and Commercial Officer, today congratulated the Minister for recognising the importance of this coverage.

“We look forward to a positive working arrangement with the Minister and FACSIA, in conjunction with NIRS and have appreciated his interest and the assistance of his Department and Ministerial staff.

“This coverage is not only important in terms of reach, it also provides a vehicle for current and previous indigenous players such as Gavin Wanganeen, Darryl White, Chris Lewis, Derek Kickett, Dean Rioli, Ronnie Burns, Gilbert McAdam, Phil Narkle and legendary former umpire Glen James – to work alongside other legends including Mark Browning, Tony Morwood and Peter ( crackers) Keenan.

Richard Griffiths, AFL Queensland, also was pleased to see the return of the broadcast.

“The AFL community across Queensland is delighted to have NIRS AFL coverage back on the airwaves as they provide consistent, quality coverage of 4 AFL games per weekend. The NIRS coverage compliments our game development activities particularly in remote communities and we are most appreciative of the Federal Government support to help us in our endeavours to spread the AFL gospel.”

In March, the Australian Government and the AFL announced $2.4 million in sporting initiatives that would benefit Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory and South Australia.

“Under the AFL Club Fostership Program, AFL clubs will partner with Indigenous communities, in conjunction with local schools and community organisations,” Mr Brough said.

Participating clubs will send squads of players and coaches to visit individual communities. They will conduct coaching clinics as well as train community coaches, deliver healthy lifestyle and nutrition information, and run training camps as part of a reward and recognition scheme linked to school attendance and results.

The AFL All Stars Ambassador Program will encourage young people to finish secondary school or get a job. “Current or former AFL players will mentor a number of boys and girls from selected communities to help them identify their life-goals and plan how to achieve those goals,” Minister Brough said.

“This partnership has the potential to make an enormous difference to kids living in some of the most disadvantaged communities in Australia.

“I look forward to hearing the positive stories resulting from this partnership and I will also tune into the NIRS broadcast of AFL when I can to catch up on all the footy action,” Mr Brough said.