Football Australia takes next step on Reconciliation journey with launch of RAP

Football Australia is committing to a continued journey of engagement with Indigenous communities through its first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) launched today.

Through the well-established three core pillars of Relationships, Respect and Opportunities, the Reconciliation Australia endorsed RAP sets out a framework that demonstrates football’s long-term commitment to action that strengthens relationships with First Nations peoples and guides our efforts towards reconciliation awareness, growth, and change. 

The sport’s first national Reflect RAP has been developed in collaboration with the National Indigenous Advisory Group (NIAG), the Football Australia RAP Working Group and internal and external stakeholders. 

[DOWNLOAD: Football Australia - Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan

Co-chair of the NIAG, Jade North, expressed his pride with the sport taking its next steps with a roadmap and 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. “

Now as Australian football are bringing full focus into this work, this action plan is just the first step of many to connect to community and embed equity into the delivery and function of football more broadly.”

“Whilst foundational at a Reflect stage, this strategy will be key in guiding the organisation to progress strongly and confidently under the leadership of the National Indigenous Advisory Group and more members of the community as the journey progresses.”

Reflect RAP Launch

Football Australia CEO, James Johnson said the release of a national RAP was another step for the sport 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. 

As Australia’s largest club-based participation sport, with two million participants and over 200 different cultures, Australian football understands and welcomes the integral role we can play in our nation’s reconciliation journey. 

“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.” 

“As with the XI Principles, this RAP will be embedded into the core of our sport and business to ensure the recognition, cultural safety and advancement of the participation of First Nations people in football.” 

[READ MORE: Football Australia announces formation of its inaugural National Indigenous Advisory Group

NIAG member and Football Australia’s Engagement Lead, Courtney Hagen, added:

Our sport has taken some essential initial steps in celebrating First Nations people’s important role in Australia’s past, present and future.  We have a responsibility to be a voice that echoes generational change and, through our deeds, builds a substantive two-way relationship with Indigenous peoples.”

“Pursuing opportunities and creating initiatives that are aligned with Indigenous priorities and interests is pivotal and should be one that evolves in line with First Nations peoples.”

Jade North Biripi
Co-chair of NIAG, Jade North, proudly represents his Biripi mob

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