AFL in Queensland is set to kick the goal of the year as the sport enters an exciting new partnership with the Palaszczuk Government which will score major victories for female and remote Queenslanders across the state.
Minister for Sport Mick de Brenni announced the partnership at the AFL Queensland Many Cultures cultural diversity program at Goodna on 9 December.
The partnership will see more Queenslanders given opportunities to be active, regardless of their age, gender, background, ability or location.
“The Palaszczuk Government is working with AFLQ to re-shape the sport in Queensland and find new ways for more people to play footy,” said Mr de Brenni.
“We want to see targeted programs and events in communities which promote participation and inclusion, stronger clubs and innovative ideas for getting people onto the AFL field.
“From first bounce we’ll be working with AFLQ to give women and girls pathways from grassroots footy right through to an elite level by driving equal pay and opportunity.
“Kicking off next year, girls will be able to play in a 12-years and under Girls Queensland Schools Championships for the first time, an important first step of talent identification that leads to another new competition — the 14 years and under Queensland Schools Championships.
“We will also make it a priority to welcome newly arrived families into the AFL community, and have a special focus on improving the health and social connections of footballers in Cape York.”
This is the fourth of six pilot partnerships with state-level sport and recreation organisations as part of the new $32 million, three-year Active Industry Fund.
Partnerships with Netball Queensland, Queensland Cricket and Tennis Queensland have also recently been announced.
AFL Queensland CEO Dean Warren said the organisation is looking forward to working closely with the Palaszczuk Government to Activate Queensland.
“Our goal is to be Queensland’s most progressive and accessible sport,” said Mr Warren.
“The health and wellbeing of all Queenslanders is at the core of this partnership and our team are focussed on both increasing participation to keep people active and also creating football clubs that are social hubs and welcoming to everybody.
“We will be adding an Inclusive division to our statewide ‘Q-School’s Cup’ competition for players with an intellectual impairment.
“And we will further the reach of our Many Cultures program which focuses on providing opportunities for migrants and refugees to participate in football.
“The new partnership arrangements will also allow AFL Queensland to open relationships across the whole of government in support of programs like Cape York House in Cairns which delivers critical intervention programs across health, education and youth justice for young Indigenous Australians.”
Mr de Brenni said funding for all eligible currently funded state-level sport and recreation organisations will continue while the six pilot partnerships are rolled out.
“We are embarking on a new era of sport and recreation funding based on partnerships and creating opportunities for more Queenslanders,” he said.
“We are driving partner codes to deliver equal opportunities, equal pay and equal representation on their boards to ensure we have a diverse range of perspectives.”
The Palaszczuk Government has invested $8.5 million to support AFL in Queensland since 1 January 2015, in addition to a further $15 million to help build a new home base for the Brisbane Lions Women’s elite AFLW team at Springfield and $35 million to refurbish The Gabba.
The Active Industry Fund forms a key part of Activate!Queensland, the state’s first 10-year, $1.3 billion strategy to encourage all levels of community participation while also supporting elite athletes and world-class venues.