As the nation marks Reconciliation Week, Athletics Australia is delighted to confirm its intention to develop an organisational Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
Celebrating the important contribution that Indigenous athletes, coaches, officials and fans have had, and continue to have, on the sport of athletics, Athletics Australia’s RAP will formalise our commitment to closing the gap between the traditional inhabitants of the land and non-Indigenous Australians.
“Across the country, sporting organisations, leagues and clubs are developing Reconciliation Action Plans that contribute to closing the gap and it is important that Athletics Australia makes every effort to contribute to this effort,” Phil Jones, Athletics Australia Chief Executive Officer, said.
“Through our Athletics for the Outback program, we are reminded daily of the positive impact our sport can have on contributing to improved social, health and educational outcomes for Indigenous Australians and we believe that it is time our organisation formalised its commitment to the National Reconciliation effort.
“Our RAP will work to further develop the strong relationships we have with Indigenous communities across the country. It will promote respect and provide opportunities for Indigenous Australians to engage in athletics.”
Athletics Australia’s announcement of the development of a RAP follows a busy few weeks for the Athletics for the Outback program, with tours of Cherbourg (Qld), Murgon (Qld) and Groote Eylandt in Arnhem Land delivered.
Made possible thanks to the support of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Athletics for the Outback reaches Indigenous communities in towns and municipalities throughout Australia via a combination of activities including in-school coaching clinics, recreational running events and leadership and education initiatives.
“I love visiting the schools and meeting the children in these communities. It’s such a rewarding experience, which is only exceeded by the sense of unity displayed at events we support, like the Reconciliation Fun Run in Cherbourg. The community and the culture make the visit so memorable but seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces as they learn to love the sport of athletics is what it is all about,” Shannon McCann, Commonwealth Games hurdler and Athletics for the Outback ambassador, said.
Athletics Australia will now create a RAP Working Committee, with this committee to include members of the athletics family of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent. Further information will be provided upon confirmation of this group.