Monday, 24 June 2013
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Committee; Report
On behalf of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs I present the committee's report entitled Sport: More than just a game together with the minutes of proceedings and evidence received by the committee.
In accordance with standing order 39(f) the report was made a parliamentary paper.
I am going to saying the thank yous at the beginning of my report so that I do not run out time to do that. I would like to start by thanking the honourable member for Blair, Shayne Neumann, who is in the chamber with us. He was chair of the committee when this report came into being. I want to thank him for being able to take carriage of such a wonderful timely and much needed report that also grew out of a previous report the committee had done under his chairmanship. That was the Doing time report. I acknowledge that I was in the lovely position of receiving this report and being able to finalise and deliver it.
I also want to thank Dr Sharman Stone, the deputy of the committee, for her wonderful work and for the bipartisanship that she and all members of the committee have shown during the time that I have been on the committee. That is why the committees are so important to the parliamentary process. I also want to thank Anna Dacre, the Secretary, and the secretariat staff including Susan Cardell, inquiry secretary, Rebecca Gordon, inquiry secretary, and Katrina Gillogly for the great support that they have given to me as chair of the committee and to the wonderful work of the committee.
Overall, evidence from the inquiry supported the theory that sport has a positive impact on Indigenous wellbeing and mentoring and can contribute positively to achieving the Closing the Gap targets in areas such as health, education and employment. The role of Indigenous mentors was regarded as a critical element to the success of sport programs. The committee found that sport is much more than just a game. It can be a pathway to stronger communities and better opportunities. Sport can be the hook or vehicle to provide opportunities for communities to come together to encourage Indigenous participation in education and employment and to demonstrate positive behaviours through local and elite sporting role models.
The committee makes 11 recommendations in this report. To ensure the contribution of sport will continue to improve Indigenous wellbeing and mentoring, the committee has recommended that the Commonwealth government develop an overarching framework of service delivery and evaluation for Commonwealth agencies that funds sports programs. Outcomes should be aligned with Closing the Gap targets in health, education and employment. The committee was impressed with many of the sports programs currently operating throughout Australia, including the Commonwealth government funded Learn Earn Legend! program that focuses on school retention and school to work transitions and is being facilitated by numerous sporting bodies. The committee recommended that the Commonwealth government extend the funding of the Learn Earn Legend! program. It really is a great program.
The success of sports programs can be reliant upon strong partnerships fostered between government, sporting bodies, the corporate sector and communities. The committee recommends that the Commonwealth government provide base funding and coordinated assistance to Indigenous regional and state sporting carnivals which draw together governments, sporting codes and clubs, mentors and role models, corporates and businesses to address health, education and employment Closing the Gap targets. Community involvement in sport included encouraging Indigenous people to become involved in the administration, umpiring and coaching positions in addition to playing sport. The committee recommends that the government acknowledge and develop Indigenous participation in these supporting roles around sport.
The rates of Indigenous females are much lower than the participation rates for males in a majority of the sporting codes and organisations, and the committee has made recommendations to government to prioritise sports programs for Indigenous women.
Positive messages of cultural celebration and pride at all sporting events can also help with Closing the Gap targets. We note that several sporting organisations have reconciliation action plans and recommend that this continue.
The committee received over 58 submissions and held six public hearings. I also note, in the last few seconds, that the honourable member for Blair told me that the greatest participation for Indigenous women in the twenties was in cricket, which, I think, is a very interesting fact to note.