Brief regarding MPNFL Reconciliation match scheduled for 18/5/2019

There are approximately 2,500 people who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander across the Mornington Peninsula Shire and Frankston City Council. The southern region of Melbourne has also been identified as the largest growing population of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people across Victoria (ABS, 2016). The reasons Aboriginal people give for not participating in sport are feeling unwelcome, or having previously experienced racism, verbal abuse or harassment in sport (Human Rights Com. 2014). 

Led by Red Hill Football Netball Club as part of its Reconciliation Action Plan, together with Crib Point Football Netball Club; VACCA (the local Aboriginal family, youth and children’s support service); Peninsula Health; Frankston City Council, and Mornington Peninsula Shire, have come together to hold a Reconciliation match within the MPFNL on 18th May 2019. 

Mirroring the intentions of National Reconciliation Week and the AFL’s commitment to ensuring that all AFL clubs set an example through the implementation of their own Reconciliation Action Plans, the objective of this event is to promote awareness of local Aboriginal history and culture; reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal local community members; inclusivity and accessibility for Aboriginal children and young people into our local sporting clubs and communities. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people remain disproportionately over-represented across health, educational, Child Protection and other identifiable areas of social disadvantage. Overall, it is anticipated that this local ‘grass-roots’, joint effort will encourage other local clubs and codes to strive toward creating a more culturally safe hence accessible sporting club environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, young people and their families to enable improved participation rates and in turn support improved health and social outcomes for Aboriginal children and young people. It is further noted that this event is intended not to occur in isolation, but rather several other strategies will be explored with respective clubs pre and post event to help achieve sustainable changes and improvements in both above respects. It is the intention of both clubs that the match itself re-occurs annually and the concept of individual Reconciliation Action Plans is extended to other Clubs participation in the Mornington Peninsula Nepean Football League recognising the ongoing significance of reconciliation efforts and the importance of diversity generally on a local level. 

The days events will include participation of both club’s women’s netball teams, the men’s football U19’s, reserves and senior teams. Jersey’s with cultural designs from a local Aboriginal artists are being provided to the senior men’s and women’s netball teams and made available for sale to the public on the day. It is planned to extend the provision of unique jerseys to all teams in future years. Bunurong Land Council will be approached to provide a traditional ‘Welcome to Country’ and a ‘smoking ceremony’ before the senior men’s football match scheduled for 2pm. Other Aboriginal song and/ or ceremony will be encouraged at half time whilst the local Koorie and other AusKick programs take place on the field. Local Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal businesses, gathering places, and community organisations will be invited to promote healthy food, activities or products. Local Aboriginal sporting celebrities will also be approached to help support the event. 

The event falls a week prior to National Reconciliation Week. Both local and organisational media options will be fully encouraged for the promotion and coverage of the event to help meet its above objectives. Partnership with local Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal organisations such as Dandenong and District Aborigines Co-operative Limited (DDACL), Doveton Gathering Place, Frankston Gathering Place and Hastings Gathering places etc will be highly sort to help promote the event and community attendance as well as to help facilitate transportation for community members where required. 

The overall planning and promotion of the match would be supported through the collaboration of stated partners in working with the clubs. There are funding possibilities for the event which are currently been explored. Support with writing funding applications has also been offered through the working group.

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