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NBL Launches Inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan For NAIDOC Week

T
he NBL has launched its inaugural Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in line with NAIDOC Week, in an effort to create greater opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander athletes.

The NBL’s RAP was developed by the NBL’s Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group, which was co-chaired by The Long Walk general manager and Essendon Football Club Indigenous Affairs Advisor, Leanne Brooke, along with NBL commissioner, Jeremy Loeliger.

Brooke said the NBL is committed to doing more to support Indigenous communities with the release of its RAP.

“As a proud Gunditjmara woman, I have been pleased to be part of the NBL’s Reconciliation journey,” Brooke said.

“This RAP is a very important step in that journey.

“With this RAP, the NBL is committed to doing more to acknowledge the contributions made by Indigenous communities, not just in the game of basketball but to our broader culture and society and develop pathways and opportunities for Indigenous people in basketball,” she said.

Loeliger said: “The NBL has long celebrated the values of inclusion and diversity but we have not yet sufficiently recognised, in a consistent and sustainable way, the specific contribution that Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples have made to the development and success of Australian basketball, nor have we implemented sufficient programs to ensure talent identification, encouragement and development.”

“Last season we staged our inaugural NBL Indigenous Round and we are committed to developing this in the coming seasons and ensure we deliver meaningful benefits to Indigenous communities.

“With this RAP we are committed to closing the gap by creating education and employment opportunities and building a culturally inclusive workplace.

“Now we start the work of participating in the effort to not only identify the next generation of budding Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander talent, but to encourage their ongoing development and their promotion into the ranks of professional basketball.

“We are tremendously excited to be playing a role in the journey.

“I want to thank Leanne Brooke and the Working Group for their commitment to delivering our inaugural RAP.

“We have also been fortunate to be joined by important figures in Australian basketball in Nate Jawai, Cal Bruton, Tyson Demos, Ricky Baldwin, Danny Morseu and Kerry Williams.

“Their knowledge and expertise is critical to us in developing a greater understanding of Indigenous Australia.

“As a sport we have been enriched by the contribution of a number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players, coaches, referees and administrators and this RAP commits us to supporting and developing pathways in the game for young Indigenous people,” he said.

As part of the NBL’s RAP, the NBL has committed to increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander player recruitment, retention and professional development, establishing talent identification and selection criteria with a view to have nine Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players participating in the NBL Next Gen program each year, funding 50% of the minimum salary for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players marked as Development Players for NBL clubs, recruiting an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander player wellbeing officer, and working with each club to provide local support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players and staff members.

NBL owner and executive chairman, Larry Kestelman, said: “As a leading sporting and community organisation, the NBL is committed to using its influence and profile to further advance the process of reconciliation and national unity.”

“Reconciliation is about strengthening meaningful relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples and where First Nations people are respected, celebrated and championed.

“We are committed to recognising and advancing the specific contribution that Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples have made to the development and success of Australian basketball.

“Basketball is one of the most culturally diverse and inclusive sports in Australia and the second most participated team sport.

“As Australia’s premier basketball league, the NBL’s aim is to unite our varied and vast basketball communities,” he said.