Australian Sporting Network: Joint Reconciliation Statement

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is a time to reflect on Australia’s shared history through truth telling, learning our shared histories, cultures, and the achievements of First Nations Peoples; while taking the time to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

In 2021, we published a joint statement committing to more substantive action in relation to reconciliation. Since then, the sporting network – of the Australian Sports Commission, the Australian Olympic Committee, Paralympics Australia, Commonwealth Games Australia, and the National Institute Network – has:

  • supported, or launched their own, Reconciliation Action Plans,
  • created their own formal or informal First Nations Advisory Committees,
  • increased their cultural knowledge through training and education immersion programs,
  • created several partnerships, relationships, and/or programs in collaboration with First Nations Elders, emerging leaders, and/or organisations.

In 2022, the sector again reaffirmed their commitment to reconciliation through the Connection to Country Statement in Australia’s High Performance 2032+ Strategy.

This NRW, the theme is Be a Voice for Generations. This theme encourages all Australians to be a voice for reconciliation in tangible ways, in the places where we live, work, and socialise. 

Be a Voice for Generations reminds us to acknowledge the work of generations past, for the benefit of generations future, and to act today for a more just, equitable and reconciled country for all.

All Australians benefit from a sporting culture that understands our collective histories and that seeks to promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, their living cultures and celebrates their achievements. Sport plays a powerful role in the promotion of reconciliation and reduction of inequality in Australian society. We also recognise, in working collaboratively, sport can more meaningfully contribute to reconciliation and deliver practical outcomes for First Nations peoples. 

Through our Connection to Country Statement, as well as this shared agreement, we commit to:

  • Share learnings and resources relating to current and future initiatives,
  • Support the continued development of Reconciliation Action Plans within the sporting network,
  • Improve the procurement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander goods and services across the network, 
  • Develop and deliver cultural enrichment programs for First Nations athletes, coaches, and administrators,
  • Create a more culturally aware, inclusive, and safe environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples across all areas of our operation and performance, and 
  • Ensure our organisations are more reflective of the communities we represent.

We commit to reviewing our progress and sharing this year-on-year.

Together, we will take more substantiative steps towards reconciliation, as a unified sporting sector for the benefit of all in sport, and Australian communities.

Artwork by Katie Bugden

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