Football Australia (FA) have implemented a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) that will build and strengthen football’s relationship with First Nations communities.
The program, endorsed by Reconciliation Australia, is a first for football in Australia as the code follows the examples set by the AFL, NRL and Cricket Australia.
Through the three core pillars of relationships, respect and opportunities, the RAP sets out guidelines that establishes football’s long-term commitment to action that strengthens relations with First Nations people. The initiative aims for reconciliation awareness, growth and change.
The RAP was led by Courtney Hagen, FA’s Engagement Lead – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and designed in partnership with FA’s National Indigenous Advisory Group (NIAG).
The NIAG consists of numerous Indigenous people including Karen Menzies (the first Aboriginal woman to represent the Matildas), John Maynard, coaches Frank Farina and Tanya Oxtoby, former Socceroo Jade North and current Matilda Kyah Simon.
Football’s first national Reflect RAP was developed in partnership with the NIAG, the Football Australia RAP Working Group and internal and external stakeholders.
Co-chair of the NIAG Jade North said he is proud with the steps football is taking towards its reconciliation goals.
“I am greatly encouraged by the decisive action Football Australia is taking towards meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous people,” North said.
“There are countless individuals and organisations who have commenced this work long before the national body and I wish to acknowledge this work as it has contributed to bring and keep our mob in the game.”
Football Australia CEO James Johnson said the release of a national RAP was a positive step for football in creating a welcoming environment for the participation of Indigenous Australians.
“Football Australia is incredibly proud to be launching our first Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan,” Johnson said.
“Through the process of developing this Reflect RAP, we have had an opportunity to reflect on the significant contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to our game and Australian society more broadly.”
“We are going beyond reflection alone and have pledged to undertake measurable tasks that directly and indirectly contribute positively to address disparities between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians.”
Football Australia said the key commitments of action in the Reflect RAP include:
- Building internal capacity for decision making through community-centred guidance from Football Australia’s National Indigenous Advisory Group
- Establish and strengthen mutually beneficial relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders and organisations
- Implementing best practice strategies to showcase First Nations Football Community and the pioneers of the game
- Implement strategies that increase understanding, value and recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories, knowledge and rights through cultural learning across Football Australia and supporting personnel
- Creating and implementing strategies to improve employment outcomes by increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recruitment, retention and professional development
- Increase more opportunities for Indigenous procurement and partnerships