Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

AFL stars join Australian Government to help Indigenous kids

Joint Media Release with:

  • Andrew Demetriou, Australian Football League Chief Executive Officer

Indigenous kids living in selected remote communities will be the winners in a new $2.4 million partnership between the Australian Government and Australian Football League.

Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, and AFL Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Demetriou, today announced details of the three-year partnership at Parliament House, Canberra.

They were joined by AFL star, James Hird, for the announcement.

"This partnership has the potential to make an enormous difference to kids living in some of the most disadvantaged communities in Australia, " Minister Brough said.

"Sport is a major part of life in Indigenous communities and can help improve the education and health of young Indigenous people, so I’m delighted that the AFL is matching the Australian Government’s funding commitment.

The partnership involves two programs.

Through the AFL Club Fostership Program, the AFL will partner with Indigenous communities and, in conjunction with local schools and community organisations, encourage young people into sporting activities.

Participating AFL Clubs will have flying squads of players and coaches visiting individual communities to conduct coaching clinics; deliver healthy lifestyle and nutrition information; conduct training camps as part of a reward and recognition scheme linked to school attendance and results, and; deliver coaching courses for community coaches.

The AFL All Stars Ambassador Program aims to encourage adolescents to complete secondary school or secure a job.

15 adolescent boys and girls from selected communities will be identified and mentored by the AFL current or former player, helping them to identify and set life goals and develop plans and behaviours to achieve their objectives.

Mr Demetriou said the AFL was proud of the way Australian football has achieved outstanding results for Indigenous people and communities.

"We are delighted the Government has agreed to help us extend the substantial existing work the AFL does in Indigenous communities. The recent work of AFLNT and the Essendon Football Club in supporting the Tiwi Islands community has clearly demonstrated the capacity of the AFL, our clubs and players to make a difference," Mr Demetriou said.

"Our Indigenous playing group recognises the importance of their investment back into Indigenous communities to help create positive outcomes for Aboriginal people not just on the sporting field, but with health, welfare and education. This drive to contribute and support Indigenous communities across Australia has inspired this initiative"

Minister Brough said sport and the direct involvement of AFL players and coaches had the potential to make a big difference to kids living in remote communities.

"Giving young people the chance to interact both directly and through the web with AFL players and coaches will open up new opportunities for these kids," the Minister said.

The Programs will start in Wadeye and surrounding communities in the Northern Territory and be rolled out to other selected communities in the NT and South Australia in the coming months. A feature of the programs in Wadeye will be the creation of a regional football competition involving the Wadeye, Palumpa, Peppimenarti and Daly River communities."