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The Annual QAIHC Arthur Beetson Foundation Murri Rugby League Carnival to be held at Redcliffe’s Dolphin Oval from October 1-4 was officially launched at Redcliffe today.

The carnival, which involves Queensland teams from the Gold Coast to Badu Island in the Torres Strait, is a real show piece of Indigenous rugby league talent.

Three competitions take place over four days, including Under 15 boys, Open Women’s and Open Men’s.  Sides will be selected in each competition to represent Queensland Murri as official QRL teams in different games and tours.

The carnival is much more than rugby league as it also has a major focus on health and education. All players have to complete a “Health Check” as a requirement to participate and all Under 15 participants must have a 90% school attendance rate in the three months prior.

The Queensland Murri Carnival is heavily supported by the Federal Government Department of Health, State Government Education Queensland and also Sport and Recreation. Major support from the Moreton Bay Council has resulted in the event coming to the region for the second year running.

Major sponsors also include the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health through their Deadly Choices campaign alongside Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council, University of Queensland, Aurizon, Triple Play, Redcliffe Leagues and the QRL.

Member for Redcliffe Yvette D’Ath officially launched the event today.

“I am proud the State Government has supported this carnival since its inception, and applaud the great education and health outcomes it achieves for the participants.

“It’s particularly pleasing that our community is once again hosting this great event and giving a real boost to local business across our city.”

Senator Glenn Lazarus, who was instrumental in gaining Federal Government funding, also spoke at the launch.

“As a Senator for the whole of Queensland I fought hard to receive this funding from the Federal Government, not just because it was about rugby league but more importantly it’s about making a real difference in our Indigenous community and families across the state,” Senator Lazarus said.

“Sport when delivered this way can have major positive social outcomes to not only participants but also to demonstrate to others if you get healthy and stay at school you can play your part representing your people and have fun doing it.”

Peter Betros, Chairman of the QRL, said: “This carnival highlights the great reach the game of rugby league has across Queensland and the Arthur Beetson Foundation should be congratulated for providing this opportunity for so many to get involved.”

Cr James Houghton, representing the Mayor of Moreton Bay Regional Council, said: “Last year’s event attracted a total attendance of 34,000 people and we are excited about the economic impact it will bring to our city and that’s the reason we as a city and council support Redcliffe Leagues Club in hosting it.”

Lizzie Adams, Chairperson of Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council, said the carnival had the potential to change the lives of participants.

“Very few events achieve the amount of health and education outcomes then the Murri Carnival does each year,” Adams said.

“We will continue to strive to close the gap between the health and education outcomes of our indigenous people and this event and the great work by our Health Clinics leading up to the carnival is one way to make real strides on improving lives and communities.”

Brad Beetson, son of the late Arthur Beetson and Board Member of the Arthur Beetson Foundation, is thrilled to be involved.

“Dad through his life had a passion on improving the lives of young indigenous people,” Brad said.

“It’s great that the foundation can continue this by using his other great passion of rugby league as the vehicle to do so.”

About The Arthur Beetson Foundation (ABF)

Arthur Beetson was a great Australian.

Arthur was the first Indigenous Australian to captain his country and is one of the eight Immortals of the game of Rugby League.

Arthur’s life work was about helping young Australians, particularly Indigenous Australians, achieve better life outcomes in the key areas of health, education and welfare.

On Arthur’s passing, in conjunction with his sons, the ABF was established so that we may live his legacy and continue the remarkable work that he did.

The ABF was appointed by the Qld Rugby League to conduct the Murri Carnival and uses the Carnival with the help of strategic partners like the IUIH and its Deadly Choices programme to engage the community to empower Indigenous Australians for better outcomes in health, education, sport, employment and business development.

About the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH)

The IUIH coordinates the planning, development and delivery of comprehensive primary health care services to over 50,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in South East Queensland.

‘Deadly Choices’ is a campaign which aims to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to make healthy choices for themselves and their families – to stop smoking, to eat good food and exercise daily. ‘Deadly Choices’ also encourages our people to access their local health service and complete a ‘Health Check’ – not just to see the Doctor when they are sick but visit their health service and access support to prevent or better manage their chronic disease and remain healthy.

The IUIH has, given the Indigenous Australian’s love of sport, in particular Rugby League, partnered with the game through the ABF and the Brisbane Broncos and its Indigenous stars like Scott Prince and Sam Thaiday to support the communities to make a ‘Healthy Choice’ – to make a ‘Deadly Choice’.