The newly appointed Australian Rugby League (ARL) Indigenous Council was announced earlier this week, with five new Council members joining three returning members.
The ARL Indigenous Council was appointed by the Australian Rugby League Commission in 2012 and has since played a pivotal role in providing strategic advice to the game and achieving greater recognition, involvement and support for Indigenous communities throughout Australia.
The Hon Linda Burney MP, who became the first Aboriginal woman elected to the House of Representatives earlier this year, will lead the ARL Indigenous Council, supported by independent Council members from a variety of backgrounds, along with representatives from State Leagues.
Council members include: Joshua Creamer, Katrina Fanning, Mal Cochrane, Karla Grant, Nathan Towney, Edward Monaei and Rick Walford.
Ms Burney said it was an honour to lead the Council for a second term and was proud of the success of the Council, particularly in guiding the game’s third Reconciliation Action Plan and ensuring that Indigenous youth in particular were provided with greater education and playing pathways.
“For many years, Rugby League has been a leader in embracing and including Indigenous peoples and the resolve to unite as one has never been stronger,” Ms Burney said.
“The new Council will continue the charter set to ensure that our game is a place for all, respects all and recognises all.”
The Councils’ announcement comes on the back of news last week that the NRL had been recognised on the global stage for its Indigenous School to Work program.
The Beyond Sport Awards were held in London last week, with the NRL awarded the Sport Governing Body of the Year for its School to Work program.
The award was in recognition of the NRL providing increased opportunities, through Rugby League, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians to access quality programs aimed at closing the gap between Indigenous and other Australians across key social indicators including education, employment and health.
Incoming Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council
Linda Burney MP (Chairwoman)**
Linda became the first female Aboriginal woman to be elected to the Australian House of Representatives, winning the seat of Barton in the 2016 Federal election.
Linda is a dedicated supporter of the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and in June 2013, was appointed as Chairwoman of the Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council.
Joshua Creamer (Deputy Chairman)**
Joshua is a practising barrister who is recognised as one of Australia’s leading native title barristers.
Joshua has contributed to Rugby League as an ARL Indigenous Council member since 2014 and is the current Chairman for the ‘Titans of Tomorrow’ program.
Edward is a recognised leader and respected advocate for Torres Strait Islander inclusion and progression throughout all levels of government.
Edward works with Indigenous Councils to improve the health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and is the current Chairman of the Queensland Rugby League Indigenous Advisory Committee, as well as the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the south-east Queensland Mabo Steering Committee.
Edward has played a significant role in the development and progression of Indigenous Rugby League throughout Queensland and works in collaboration with key stakeholders, like the Arthur Beetson Foundation, to build positive pathways for junior, women’s and men’s Indigenous rugby league.
Katrina played 24 Tests for the Australian Jillaroo’s, including the inaugural women’s Test Match against New Zealand in 1995, as well as appearing at the Rugby League World Cups in 2000 and 2003.
Katrina has held executive positions with the Australian Women’s Rugby League and Canberra Women’s Rugby League and played a pivotal role in preparations for the first ever Australian Indigenous women’s representative team who played the New Zealand Maori representative team.
Along with representing her country, Katrina has played for New South Wales, both country and State teams, and has served on the ARL Indigenous Council since 2012.
Mal is a Rugby League Indigenous Team of the Century member, who played for the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles throughout the 80s.
Mal continues to be involved in Rugby League through his role as an NRL Judiciary panel member and as Manager of the Harvey Norman Indigenous All Stars team.
Karla has over 25 years of media experience, working as a journalist, producer, director and presenter – with this year marking 21 years at SBS.
For 14 years, Karla has been the Host and Executive Producer of Australia’s award-winning and longest running Indigenous current affairs show, ‘Living Black’, on SBS and NITV.
Karla has dedicated a huge part of her career to working in Indigenous news and current affairs, witnessing and reporting on the shifts in policy and attitudes towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
Karla is committed to giving her people a platform for highlighting their issues and educating and informing all Australians on the plight of our First Peoples’.
Nathan is the current Principal of Newcastle High School, where he strives to create a culture of high expectations and a community of engaged learners.
Nathan promotes positive relationships across all stakeholders, effective systems and processes and distributed leadership as the foundations for success at Newcastle High School.
Previously, Nathan managed the Aboriginal Education team in south-west Sydney, creating positive partnerships with communities and external agencies and providing leadership to improve student learning outcomes across 276 schools with the support of the NSW Department of Education.
Rick is a former professional rugby league player, having played for the Sydney Roosters, North Sydney Bears, the St George Dragons and New South Wales.
Upon retiring from playing rugby league, Rick became the Indigenous Program Manager for the Australian Rugby League’s development team and has also worked as the New South Wales Rugby League Indigenous Program Manager.
Rick is currently the Indigenous Program Manager for Country Rugby League.
** reappointed ARL Indigenous Council members