The Australian Rugby League Commission’s commitment to promoting the talents of Indigenous Australians has been recognised at the Australian Indigenous Minority Supplier Council (AIMSC) Awards at Sydney’s Town Hall.
The NRL was last night named “Up and Coming Member of the Year” by the AIMSC for showing “excellence in their supplier diversity, community engagement and Indigenous business mentoring”.
ARL Commission Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, said the award holds a special significance because of Rugby League’s commitment to ensuring Indigenous artists and Indigenous communities are active partners in the programs and the events that the game creates.
“The All Stars event each year provides a strong public focus on the Indigenous athletes in our game and our commitment to Indigenous communities and school to work programs,” Mr Gallop said.
“That commitment extends year long and we are committed to providing increased opportunities for Indigenous Australians in the hope of closing the opportunity gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
“The annual Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars game generates $1.5m in revenue that is directly invested back into Indigenous community programs; while other initiatives like Learn Earn Legend! School to Work Program inspire Indigenous high school students to stay in school and establish a firm career path for themselves.”
An AIMSC spokesperson said the award for Up and Coming Member of the year is presented to a new AIMSC member who has shown “immediate enthusiasm into outcomes and is continuing to champion the AIMSC cause”.
“The NRL cultural awareness and commitment is at the highest standard and their initiatives with mentoring business professionals and community members contribute to commercial outcomes, employment, socio-economic benefits nationwide,” the spokesperson said.
BACKGROUNDER: Rugby League Programs and Initiatives for Indigenous Australians
Rugby League is committed to providing increased opportunities for Indigenous Australians to access quality programs and initiatives aimed at addressing the significant levels of disadvantage prevalent within society, today.
Its commitment is reinforced by the formalisation of a game-wide Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP - 2008), demonstrating Rugby League’s investment in Indigenous Australia, and driven by the Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council – established in 2007.
Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars
Each year the Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars game generates $1.5m in revenue that is directly invested back into Indigenous community programs delivered through all 16 NRL Clubs and Rugby League’s One Community.
Programs and initiatives that specifically target the identified need of Indigenous Australians and their communities are delivered throughout the year by One Community – these programs address ‘broader community’ issues, most of which are supported through the Australian Government.
o Learn Earn Legend! School to Work Program
? NRL Clubs, in partnership with key stakeholders, inspire Indigenous high school students in their region to stay in school and establish a firm career path for themselves.
? 10 NRL clubs currently have these programs in place (Knights, Titans, Broncos, Cowboys, Bulldogs, Eels, Wests Tigers, Panthers, Rabbitohs and Raiders.
o Learn Earn Legend! Parental and Community Engagement Program (PaCE)
? Inclusive, community-driven programs that focus on the development and implementation of creative and innovative approaches to improve the educational outcomes of Indigenous school students through enhancing Indigenous parental engagement with schools and education providers.
o Learn Earn Legend! State of Origin Job Experience Program (SOOJEP)
? Inspires young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders from rural and remote Australia to embrace the educational and employment opportunities that are available, whilst strongly maintaining their identity and culture.
o Learn Earn Legend! Jobs Expos
? Showcases to Indigenous Australians the career, developmental, educational and further training opportunities and pathways that exist post-school.
o Learn Earn Legend! Youth Summit
? Provides Indigenous students from around Australia to participate in an educational, cultural and motivational experience.
o Learn Earn Legend! Tingha Project
? Brings together community stakeholders to improve the education, training and employment pathways of youth and builds community capacity to ensure sustainable outcomes.
o Young Indigenous Learn Earn Legend! Award
? Recognises outstanding achievement and application to education, employment, culture and the community.
o Cross-cultural Awareness Training
? Delivered to Clubs, players, administrators and Australian communities, this program provides a platform for further understanding and appreciation of the cultural sensitivities and intricacies linked with Indigenous communities.
o Dream Believe Achieve
? A teaching resource that encourages [Indigenous] students to build healthy lifestyles and positive ways to find and achieve their dreams.
o Eat Well, Play Well, Stay Well
? Developed to engage and encourage [Indigenous] kids to build healthy lifestyles and make positive choices.
o Rugby League Reads
? A series of Rugby League Reads initiatives aimed at primary schools to highlight the importance of reading – an Indigenous-specific “All Stars-themed” version will be available in 2012.
o Close the Gap Round
? Promotes the Australian Government’s “Close the Gap” initiative working towards closing the life expectancy and health equality gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
o Harmony Round
? Celebrating Australia’s cultural diversity, community participation, inclusiveness and respect.
o Violence Against Women
? The program will engage Indigenous Australians and promote the current issues relating to violence within the community targeted at women.
o Indigenous Culture, Arts and Language Program
? Delivers Indigenous Cultural, Arts and Language activities to further promote and preserve the culture, and proud history, of Indigenous Australia.
o Indigenous Women’s All Stars Development Program
? Through the Federal Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport, and administered by the game, opportunities exist for players of the Indigenous Women’s team to access quality personal and professional development programs to increase their self-esteem, leadership quality and employability.
o Donate Life
? Raising awareness of organ and tissue donation within the Indigenous community.
Australian Rugby League Commission
o One Deadly Step
? A community-driven program that raises awareness around important health issues and encourages screening, early detection, follow up and management of chronic disease
o National Indigenous Rugby League Development Program
? Aims to increase the development of Indigenous Rugby League throughout Australia, increasing participation at all levels
NSW Rugby League
o No School No Play
? Aims to build strong partnerships between sporting organisations, parents and communities of Indigenous secondary school students.
Country Rugby League
o Tackling Violence
? Tackling Violence is a domestic violence education and prevention program funded by the NSW and Australian Governments.
Each NRL Club plays a pivotal role in the delivery of programs and initiatives aimed at Indigenous Australians in their relevant catchment areas - most of which are supported by revenue generated from the All Stars game. However, Clubs run a number of their own activities which complement the game’s overall RAP:
o Close the Gap Round (CTG)
? Highlights the need to focus on key areas including Indigenous health, education, employment and life expectancy (Broncos, Raiders, Sharks, Knights, Eels and Titans are heavily involved in the activation of these events).
o Reconciliation Cup
? Initially developed (in 2007) to mark the anniversary of the 1967 Referendum, when Australians voted to remove clauses from the Australian Constitution that discriminated against Indigenous Australians, and played between the Cowboys and the Bulldogs, it is now a prominent fixture during Close the Gap Round and takes on increased significance – linked with CTG Round messaging.