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Football Australia Launches National Indigenous Advisory Group

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Football Australia has announced the formation of a National Indigenous Advisory Group with the aim of bringing a wide range of knowledge and insight from the Indigenous community to football in Australia.

The group will consist of nine First Nations community members, including Kenny Bedford, Frank Farina, Selina Holtze, Narelda Jacobs, John Maynard, Dr Karen Menzies, Jade North, Tanya Oxtoby, and Kyah Simon.

According to Football Australia, the group was assembled due to their varying experiences, cultures, and ability to drive change across professional and grassroots football, media, academia, and government.

Football Australia CEO, James Johnson, said the advisory group will see Football Australia further their connection to Indigenous heritage and future.

“This is a momentous day for football in Australia,” Johnson said.

“The National Indigenous Advisory Group will bring to the forefront the voices, lived experience and rich knowledge that can only come from First Nations people.

“Our Indigenous heritage is a critical component of Australian football’s identity and story.

“First Nations participation and elite representation within football dates to the 1930’s with pioneering names such as Charlie Perkins, Harry Williams, Karen Menzies and John Moriarty.

“To provide the opportunity for the next generation to continue in this tradition and to strengthen Indigenous participation at all levels of the game, we need to create stronger pathways and ensure we foster an environment that welcomes and embraces.

“The collective leadership of the group will play an integral role in guiding Football Australian as we take important steps towards becoming a leader in our work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,” he said.

The group will focus on supporting the ongoing cultural safety of Indigenous participants, evaluating and advising on football pathways and programs designed to drive social outcomes, guiding future strategic partnerships and employment strategies, and promoting reconciliation through Football Australia’s Reconciliation Action Plan.

The group will be co-chaired by former Socceroos player, Jade North and Football Australia head of women’s football, Women’s World Cup legacy & inclusion, Sarah Walsh.

On the new group, North said: “Football is all about unity, diversity and equity and I believe it is important that First Nations people voices are part of the football conversation.”

“I have seen an increasing connection with First Nations people and football over the past few years.

“In some of the tournaments I have been to I see a lot of passion, I see a lot of skill, I see a lot of desire, and everyone is proud of their mob and where they are from.

“What I would love to see over the next couple of decades for our First Nations people is having a big representation of Indigenous people, in various roles, at all levels of the national teams and domestically.

“I would also love to see Indigenous culture deeply intertwined with Australian football, driving the respect and celebration of one of the oldest and continuing culture in the world,” North said.

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