After launching its second Reconciliation Action Plan during National Reconciliation Week in 2016, the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) has published its progress in the ARU Reconciliation Action Plan Progress Report.
The Australian Rugby Union’s (ARU) vision for reconciliation is to engage and work collaboratively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to foster positive relationships, promote healthy lifestyles and create genuine opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through rugby.
As outlined in the ARU’s RAP, the priority for 2016-2017 was to establish and roll out Deadly7s, Australian Rugby’s first ever Indigenous Rugby program for primary school students.
Deadly7s is designed to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary school students across Australia with their first taste of rugby, whilst also educating them about the importance of education and healthy lifestyles.
The program material was developed in partnership with Aboriginal educators and community members and aligns directly with the current primary school PDHPE syllabus.
Over two terms in 2016, 2426 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students participated in the Deadly7s program including boys and girls from remote areas such as the APY Lands in South Australia and Cooktown in Far North Queensland.
In total over 5,074 primary school aged boys and girls (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) participated in the program in 2016.
The numbers significantly exceeded the ARU’s own target of 400 Indigenous participants by year end.In 2017-2018, the ARU will focus on increasing pathway opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth, employment opportunities and building on the Indigenous Strategy that has been developed over the past twelve months.
“In our RAP, we set ambitious targets focused on making progress in three key areas: improving relationships, building respect and creating opportunities," ARU CEO Bill Pulver said.
"We are committed to making rugby more accessible to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and are delighted with the progress that we’ve made to date.”
"While we still have much more to do I am proud of the progress Australian Rugby has made.
"As a national organisation, we have a great responsibility to be involved in Australia’s journey towards reconciliation.
"I am pleased to be renewing our RAP commitments for the rest of 2017 and beyond.”