Athletics Australia is partnering with five of its State and Territory Member Associations to expand its Athletics for the Outback program and launch a series of targeted activities in the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales.
Athletics for the Outback is an Athletics Australia program, supported by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, which has a vision of helping make athletics the sport of choice for indigenous Australians in remote, regional and metropolitan communities throughout Australia.
Following Athletics Australia’s first-ever first National Indigenous Participation Forum in Melbourne in March, a new direction for the Athletics for the Outback program was recently established.
The Forum focused on how athletics could best serve indigenous participants and establish a more inclusive and culturally relevant environment in which indigenous athletes, spectators and coaches could thrive. Participants - who included representatives from six state Member Associations as well as a number of indigenous service agencies, including the Korin Gamadji Institute, the Cathy Freeman Foundation, Red Dust and the Australian Sports Commission – identified the need to expand participation goals for the Athletics for the Outback program, ensure a more sustainable and lasting impact in the communities in which it is held, and connect Indigenous Australians to existing resources and programs.
“We envision an inclusive environment where Indigenous Australians of all ages and abilities can participate in, and celebrate athletics in their community,” said Athletics Australia’s Indigenous Participation Coordinator Bridgid Junot.
“Guided by this new vision, we aim to expand Athletics for the Outback from a program that delivers two or three-day athletics camps and tours to remote communities, to one which reaches Indigenous Australians in towns and municipalities throughout Australia via a combination of activities including after school programs, in-school coaching clinics, recreational running events and leadership and education initiatives, to name a few.
Athletics for the Outback originally aimed to reach 2,300 indigenous Australians over the course of three years, but will now triple that goal and aim to reach 2,300 indigenous Australians annually.
The new strategy also sees Athletics Australia partner with its State and Territory Member Associations to deliver the program throughout the country. One of the first Athletics for the Outback activities will be an athletics carnival to be held in the small town of Normanton in rural Queensland in July. The carnival is expected to reach about 150 Gulf District school children and give them the opportunity to participate in athletics clinics and compete in their district athletics carnival. After school program leaders, teachers and parents will also get the opportunity to participate in a coach education course focusing on the Kids’ Athletics
Future activities are planned around Australia in the following locations:
- Tiwi Islands, Buranga, Katherine, Alice Springs and Darwin in the Northern Territory;
- Townsville, Mackay and Rockhampton in Queensland;
- Dubbo, Narromine, Wellington and Sydney in NSW;
- East Kimberley, West Kimberley, Broome, Fitzroy Crossing, Burringurah/ Carnarvon, Western Desert and Onslow in WA;
- Kaurna Plains, Port Augusta, Port Lincoln, Whyalla, Maree and Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in SA.
“The Athletics for the Outback program provides a vehicle for communities to come together and collectively identify with, get behind and support a program that is fun for its participants, provides them with new skills and opportunities to participate in a healthy and active recreational pursuit and something to collectively be passionate about,” said Junot.
“Additionally, it will give community members – parents, teachers, youth, at-risk men and women, elders and community agency representatives - a venue for skill and leadership development.”
If you’re interested in finding out more about the Athletics for the Outback program, contact Bridgid Junot at Athletics Australia on firstname.lastname@example.org
The Athletics for the Outback logo was developed by Northern Territory indigenous graphic designer James Carter.