AFL Northern Territory (AFLNT) has welcomed the recent announcement from the Albanese Government, unveiling a $4.7 million investment into AFLNT's Indigenous engagement initiatives for the next two years. Wayne Coolwell, the Chair of the National Indigenous Sports Foundation (NISF), commended the Federal Government for allocating funding to support AFLNT's program.
The funding agreement is a collaborative effort between the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) and the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA). This joint investment will specifically target programs aimed at Indigenous women and girls, as well as youth engagement throughout the Northern Territory.
The programs, centered around football, will be executed in partnership with local community health organizations and youth service providers. Using a hub-based approach, these initiatives intend to involve more communities in football than ever before. With a notable emphasis on broadening opportunities for women and girls to participate in AFL programs, the investment aims to achieve several key objectives:
Increased participation of Indigenous youth in AFL programs.
Positive impact on key Closing the Gap outcomes, including school attendance, well-being, and reduced engagement with the justice system.
Support for local leadership development and community participation.
Positive influence on local employment prospects within communities.
The program implementation encompasses various activities, including tailored programs and curricula for Indigenous school-aged girls. These activities will be carried out through channels such as the Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre, All Girls NAB AFL Auskick Centres, School Holiday Programs, and the introduction of junior football competitions for girls aged 10-16 years in all regions.
AFLNT is currently engaged with over 15,000 participants annually through its remote AFL programs. A Project Steering Group will be established, consisting of representatives from AFLNT, the ASC, and NIAA, to further develop the initiative in the upcoming months.
Minister Anika Wells noted, "This funding commitment will provide the opportunity for more women and young people in the Northern Territory to benefit from playing football in their communities." Similarly, Assistant Minister McCarthy expressed that increased sports participation could positively impact Closing the Gap outcomes, including school attendance and well-being.
AFL CEO-elect Andrew Dillon remarked, "Participation in AFL programs promotes health and education outcomes and provides pathways to employment for young people in NT communities." The Head of AFL Northern Territory, Sam Gibson, also welcomed the funding, acknowledging that remote programs have become integral to AFLNT's work, aiding in engaging young Indigenous individuals across the Territory.
Cassidy Fitzclarence, AFLNT’s Indigenous Programs & Engagement Manager, emphasized that AFL is more than just a game for remote and regional communities in the NT. It serves as a vital facet of life, fostering a range of positive benefits for individuals and communities. Fitzclarence expressed gratitude for the support from the Australian Sports Commission, the National Indigenous Australian’s Agency, and the Albanese Government, underscoring AFLNT's commitment to empowering women, girls, and youth in these communities.
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Photo Courtesy AFL Northern Territory
Courtesy AFL Northern Territory