A new agreement between the organisers of the Koori Knockout and the Federal Government will see a steady flow of funding for the next four years.
The Knockout has received an $140-thousand funding boost from the Government with $200-thousand guaranteed each year, across the next four years.
The funding package also includes a bonus $80,000 for the 2019 event, which will be managed by the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC).
“As a young fella, the Knockout meant everything to me and that’s still the case today,” Parramatta Eels star Blake Ferguson said.
“I’ve been very fortunate to win a Premiership and play for my country and state, but nothing compares to representing my mob at the Knockout,” he said.
The iconic event is more than just a football gathering, according to Indigenous Affairs minister Nigel Scullion.
“This is a massive cultural event where people refresh relationships, they catch up with people and in much the same way that Garma is an iconic event in the Northern Territory, this particular footy round is an iconic cultural event in New South Wales,” Mr Scullion said.
The Newcastle All Blacks will host this year’s competition as reigning champions, after defeating the La Perouse Panthers 19-18 in last year’s final in Dubbo. It was their first tournament victory in 31-years.
“We’re really looking forward to assisting Newcastle All Blacks going forward. It is a big tournament so that work starts immediately,” NSWALC Chairman Roy Ah-See said.
The funding will go towards the general organisation of the event as well as the broadcast, which will be hosted by NITV again this year.
Mr Ah-See says some funding will also go towards helping teams ease the financial burden of participation.
140 teams are expected to attend this year’s competition, supported by more than 30-thousand people.
By Keiran Deck