General News

30 May, 2023

AFL builds Indigenous ties

Football essential to creating good relationships

By Isabella Guzman Gonzalez

AFL builds Indigenous ties - feature photo

AFL Cairns and AFL Cape York House Foundation have consolidated a partnership focusing on advancing the Indigenous game.

The partnership will further strengthen the relationship between the two organisations in support of the programs at AFL Cape York House Foundation, like the boys’ and girls’ houses, development, and in-school programs. 

AFL Cairns will also support the foundation’s ‘Swimming the Gap’ event in September 2023. 

AFL Cape York Foundation was established eight years ago to provide opportunities to Indigenous youth through education and sport. In 2022, AFL Cape York House achieved a year 12 graduate completion rate of 100 per cent (compared to the national completion rate for children from remote communities of 38 per cent). 

AFL Cape York House general manager Rick Hanlon said the partnership meant officialising both organisations’ relationships. 

“AFL Cape York House Foundation supports young Indigenous kids and their families to achieve their goals and live proud and strong lives,” he said. 

Mr Hanlon said last week’s Indigenous Round was an opportune time to recognise what they were doing as two organisations. 

“We’ve got work going on here that AFL Cairns is supporting with the upgrade of our oval, and we appreciate that, and they’ll be further providing resources going forward for the foundation,” he said. 

“This partnership will create further awareness about AFL Cape York House, what we do and try to achieve with our programs, and it allows other like-minded corporations to engage.” 

AFL Cairns general manager Craig Lees said the partnership was a natural transition for both organisations. 

“If we can utilise the vehicle of football to connect socially and help create awareness for the foundation, we’ll do it,” Mr Lees said. 

“We’ve got 2500 people that play in our game locally, and Indigenous Round is arguably the most important round in our calendar, so it just made sense to formalise the relationship. 

“We will develop this partnership, but I see this growing into the future, and we’re here to advocate and support the foundation to get the funding they deserve to create the outcomes they’ve been delivering.” 

Indigenous Round is an essential fixture on AFL Cairns’ calendar, highlighted by ‘Dreamtime By The Sea’, a special event of matches between Cairns City Lions and North Cairns Tigers on May 27, acknowledging the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players.


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