NACCHO NRL Close the Gap round: NRL players Indigenous DADS hopes and dreams for healthy kids

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This week NACCHO joins with the CLOSE THE GAP campaign and all NRL players at every ground calling on all Australians to continue to work together to achieve Indigenous health equality.

Rugby League’s Indigenous players have made their own heartfelt plea about the future of indigenous children by joining an emotional NRL video to talk of the hopes and dreams they have for their families as they prepare for this week’s Close the Gap Round

Johnathan Thurston (below) , Sam Thaiday (above), Andrew Fifita and Nathan Merritt were among the stars posing with their children to highlight the uncertain future that is faced by so many indigenous Australians.

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Close the Gap reminds us that babies born to Aboriginal mothers die at more than twice the rate of other Australian babies, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience higher rates of preventable illness such as heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes.

This week NRL players at every ground call on all Australians to continue to work together to achieve Indigenous health equality.

“So many of us have become fathers recently and your world just changes immediately, you are responsible for this life,”Thurston said.

“Holding my daughter Frankie for the first time made me realise the importance of working to close the gap for future generations.”

Filming took place in QLD and NSW with the vision providing fans a first-hand look into the lives of some of the game’s greatest Indigenous players.

For many of the players the birth of their children has provided them with an awakening on the importance of working to close the gap and create the best opportunities and pathways for their children’s future.

“I want to see my son succeed in life,” Andrew Fifita said of baby Latu Jay.

“I want him to be healthy and follow his dreams.

“I love my baby to the world, it is a different type of love and at the end of the day I would do anything for him.”

For others it is the hope of seeing their children’s children.

“I want to make sure I am healthy enough to still be around when my kids have kids and to be a grandfather to their kids,” Merritt said.

“A lot of us have problems with our health and we need to increase health awareness amongst our people to make sure we are around for our kids.

“We need to help them do better things in their life and focus on the positives.

Round 22 (16th – 19th August) is the NRL’s annual Close the Gap Round, the fifth since Rugby League became the first sporting code in Australia to sign up to the Close the Gap campaign back in 2009.

“Sport plays a critical role in helping to close the gap, with many examples of lives being turned around through involvement in a local sporting club, with its community focus and health benefits for players.” Close the Gap co-chair Jody Broun said.

“The NRL was the first sporting code to support Close the Gap, and the standing of the League’s many Aboriginal players is an inspiration to our young mob all around the country.”

The Round is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of closing the gap in health equality between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians with NRL clubs acknowledging the round with match day activities, specially designed jerseys and events.

“As a parent of two happy healthy children, this round has great significance for me,” The Chair of the Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council, the Hon Linda Burney MP, said.

“Every baby deserves the best opportunities and future and I applaud these players for their commitment to Closing the Gap not only for their babies but all Indigenous children.”

Players and their children involved

Albert Kelly and Brida-Lee

Johnathan Thurston and Frankie

Matt Bowen with Matthew Jr and Diaz

Sam Thaiday with Gracie Willow

Dean Widders and Yilara

Andrew Fifita and Latu Jay

David Fifita with Krew

Nathan Merritt with Jalen and Nakeeya

NACCHO congratulates the NRL for support of the OXFAM Close the Gap round

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Picture above Deadly Choices major promotion for Friday nights game

Rugby League is again getting behind a great cause, with this weekend’s Close the Gap Round (August 3-6) supporting Australia’s largest campaign to improve Indigenous health.

And NACCHO as a member of the Close the Gap campaign congratulates the NRL for their ongoing support

Oxfam Australia’s ‘Close the Gap’ campaign aims to reduce the 10-year life expectancy gap that exists between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and NRL stars including Johnathan Thurston, Cameron Smith and Greg Inglis are urging league fans to help tackle Indigenous health inequality by pledging to support the campaign.

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The NRL has a long history of supporting Indigenous all stars and Close the Gap Rounds

This year’s game-wide activities will again highlight the importance of working to improve Indigenous health, life expectancy and education and employment opportunities.

Over the round, NRL Club initiatives will include Indigenous-inspired jerseys, mentoring, leadership, cultural awareness sessions and Indigenous performances.

Sport plays a critical role in helping to close the gap, with many examples of lives being turned around through involvement in a local sporting club, with its community focus and health benefits for players.

Rugby League was the first sporting code in Australia to support the Close the Gap campaign with our inaugural Close the Gap Round held in 2009.

There’s no reason why all Australians can’t enjoy health equality so please show your support for closing the gap and sign the pledge when you go to support your team this round.

You can also sign the pledge, by logging on to www.oxfam.org.au/closethegap.

NACCHO health and racism news:Adam Goodes and Aussie stars unite to stamp out racism

 

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The racist incident at the Swans vs Collingwood game last Friday night should not overshadow the magnificent performance by Adam Goodes (pictured above Friday night Indigenous Round ) nor the wonderful activities this week to celebrate the contribution of Indigenous players to the AFL, but it reinforces the need for ongoing education and the importance of calling racism out when it is witnessed.”Play by the Rules Co-Chair, Graeme Innes

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The Australian Human Rights Commission’s Racism. It Stops With Me campaign and the Play by the Rules program have partnered to produce a powerful new TV Community Service Announcement (CSA) for sporting organisations to play at their events and to promote on their websites and through their social media forums.

REFER previous NACCHO communique Racism and Health consequences

 “The TV CSA (and several radio CSAs) will be broadcast nationally until the start of August and will also be available on the Australian Human Rights Commission and Play by the Rules YouTube channels and websites,” said Commission President, Gillian Triggs.  

The TV CSA features an all-star cast of Australia’s best known sporting heroes including:

Sally Pearson (athletics), Adam Goodes (AFL), Liz Cambage (basketball), Greg Inglis (rugby league and NRL Indigenous All-stars), Peter Siddle (cricket), Mo’onia Gerrard (netball), AFL Indigenous All-stars, Archie Thompson (football/soccer), Cameron Smith (rugby league), Drew Mitchell (rugby union), Timana Tahu (rugby league), Nick Maxwell (AFL) and some grassroots athletes of different ages and backgrounds.

They reinforce the simple message – Racism. It Stops With Me.

 Despite a range of programs and policies, incidents of racism and discrimination still occur on a regular basis from the elite to grassroots level across a range of sports every season.

 “Sport is all about having fun, competing safely and getting a fair go, regardless of your skin colour, background or culture.

Whether you’re a player, spectator, coach or official, there’s simply no place for racism or discrimination in sport,” federal Disability Discrimination Commissioner and Play by the Rules Co-Chair, Graeme Innes said. “The alleged racist incident at the Swans vs Collingwood game last night should not overshadow the magnificent performance by Adam Goodes nor the wonderful activities this week to celebrate the contribution of Indigenous players to the AFL, but it reinforces the need for ongoing education and the importance of calling racism out when it is witnessed.”

 Executive Director of Sport and Recreation Tasmania, Craig Martin, also a Play by the Rules Co-Chair, said, “With the AFL, Rugby League, Netball and Rugby Union seasons all now in progress, the Football (soccer) season just finished and the Cricket Tests about to commence in the UK, this is a timely opportunity to remind everyone in sport that racism is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.”

 Racism. It Stops With Me is an initiative of the National Anti-Racism Strategy which invites all Australians to reflect on what they can do to counter racism wherever it happens. Sporting organisations can take a strong stand against racism by committing to the Racism.

It Stops with Me campaign at: itstopswithme.humanrights.gov.au/it-stops-with-me/support-campaign.

Clubs can also access tools and resources to stamp racism out of sport at:

www.playbytherules.net.au/component/content/article/81-resources/links/1245-racism-in-sport-toolkit?highlight=WyJyYWNpc20iXQ

 

Play by the Rules is a unique collaboration between the Australian Sports Commission, Australian Human Rights Commission, all state and territory departments of sport and recreation, all state and territory anti-discrimination and human rights agencies, the NSW Commission for Children and Young People and the Australian and New Zealand Sports Law Association (ANZSLA). For more information on how to promote safe, fair and inclusive participation within your sporting club or organisation contact admin@playbytherules.net.au or visit www.playbytherules.net.au .

 

Media contact: Brinsley Marlay (02) 9284 9656 or 0430 366 529