Australian Rugby has bolstered its commitment to Indigenous engagement by launching its second Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
ARU Chairman Cameron Clyne and ARU CEO Bill Pulver joined former Wallabies centre Gary Ella and Indigenous Australian players including Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens teammates Taleena Simon and Mahalia Murphy, Western Force skipper and 11-Test Qantas Wallabies flanker Matt Hodgson and Australian U20s squad member Moses Sorovi for the launch at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence in Redfern.
The occasion was particularly special for Taleena Simon, who hails from Redfern and in July 2014 became first Aboriginal woman to receive a full time professional contract in the Australian Sevens program.
Taleena’s original artwork adorns the Reconciliation Action Plan document, and represents the Australian rugby community. The flowing lines and dots in the artwork represent the connectedness that the sport creates between players, officials, coaches and spectators.
At the launch, Mr Pulver explained that the ARU’s vision for reconciliation was 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.
“Since the launch of our inaugural RAP, our organisation’s commitment to furthering reconciliation in Australia has strengthened,” he said.
“We have set ambitious targets and over the next two years we will particularly focus on making progress in three key areas: improving relationships, building respect and creating opportunities. We are committed to making Rugby more accessible to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
“This RAP is closely aligned with our new five-year Strategic Plan, which is based on making Rugby a game for all Australians.”
ARU Chairman Cameron Clyne added: “The Australian Rugby Union is a national organisation with a global presence. We have a great responsibility be involved in Australia’s journey towards reconciliation.”
“We understand the need to provide opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to participate in our game, whether they are coaches, players, administrators or volunteers.”