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NRL Mailbox: Introducing Indigenous council

NRL.com Thu, Aug 23, 2012 - 8:36 AM

We’ve announced the new Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council (ARLIC) and we wanted to introduce you to its members!

The announcement last week coincided with the launch of the 2013 Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars with the inaugural Indigenous All Stars captain Preston Campbell announced as part of the Council’s new line-up.

Established as a key objective of Rugby League’s 2008-09 Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), the Council acts as the formal Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Working Group for the game of Rugby League.  The Council oversees the implementation of the RAP, ensures that views and ideas of the Indigenous community are incorporated from across the game into all Rugby League policies and procedures and ensures all relevant opportunities are available to Indigenous Australians.

The Council acts as a whole of game reference point for all Indigenous Rugby League matters, provides the game with important advice and expertise in promoting cultural awareness and understanding of Indigenous-specific issues, and proactively supports Indigenous involvement in the game at all levels.

The Council will directly appoint four members of the 2013 Learn Earn Legend! Indigenous All Stars team with the move of the All Stars game next year to Suncorp Stadium ensuring that more communities can experience the excitement of one of Rugby League’s great events, and importantly more Indigenous communities can benefit from the game’s life-changing Indigenous education and health programs.

The success of such programs saw our great game winning an international sports award just last month at the prestigious Beyond Sport Awards in London where we were named ‘Governing Body of the Year Award’.

It’s also worth noting that for the first time in the history of Rugby League, we have three Indigenous Premiership captains at the one time in Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys), Sam Thaiday (Broncos) and Scott Prince (Titans)!

The members of the new Rugby League Indigenous Council (2012 – 2014) are:

Mr Percy Knight (Chairperson)

A talented Rugby League player, Mr Knight played for both the Balmain Tigers and Canberra Raiders and was appointed the Chief Executive Officer of the Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation Ltd (WCC) and the Wiradjuri Condobolin Culture and Heritage Company (WCCHC) in 2003, with the primary objective to relieve poverty, sickness, suffering, distress, misfortune, destitution and helplessness of Condobolin Wiradjuri people.

Mr Glen Brennan

Mr Brennan is currently Head of Indigenous Finance and Development with the National Australia Bank (NAB) where he leads their commercial and non-commercial Indigenous banking activities and also acts as Deputy Chairperson of the Aboriginal Employment Strategy and has previously led the Australian Sports Commission’s Sports Program Division.

The Hon Linda Burney MP

Ms Burney was the first Aboriginal person elected to the NSW Parliament and has had a distinguished career as both a Member of Parliament and a Senior Public Servant, including Director General Aboriginal Affairs NSW.

An executive member of the National Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation and President of the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and Member for Canterbury since 2003, Linda is currently the Deputy Leader of the NSW Opposition, Shadow Minister for Planning, Infrastructure and Heritage, Shadow Minister for the Hunter, Shadow Minister for Sport and Recreation and Shadow Minister for the Central Coast.

Mr Preston Campbell

The driving influence behind the Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars concept and the 2008 Ken Stephen Medal recipient, Mr Campbell played professional Rugby League for 14 years, playing more than 250 games during a stellar career with the Cronulla Sharks, Penrith Panthers and Gold Coast Titans. Since retiring, Preston has continued to work tirelessly in Indigenous communities across the country.

Mr Darren Godwell

Mr Godwell's career has included advising to the World Bank and working for global media giant Bertelsmann AG. He created Australia’s first national Indigenous-controlled philanthropic foundation and created the Indigenous Sports Program at the Australian Sports Commission. Today he is a Director of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (ATSILS) and runs his own firm as consultant on matters of business development and strategy.

Mr William (Smiley) Johnstone

Mr Johnstone was the inaugural Chairperson of the Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council (ARLIC) that was established in 2007 and was influential in developing the Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars match.

Mr Johnstone is the Managing Director, Indigenous Development Corporation as well as being a Director, KMK Consulting; Independent Board Member of New South Wales Rugby League; and Director, Indigenous Business Council of Australia.

Ms Katrina Fanning

Ms Fanning has been in public service for 17 years, predominantly as a Senior Executive in the Commonwealth Public Service. She has also worked as an independent advisor to Australian, New Zealand and ACT Governments.

She has represented Australia in Rugby League in 24 test matches, including two World Cups.  President of the Canberra and Australian Women’s Rugby League she was instrumental in organising the first female Indigenous Test between Australia and the New Zealand Maori in 2003.

Mr Stephen Tillett

A Torres Strait Islander, Mr Tillett was born on Palm Island and grew up in communities such as Weipa, Bamaga and Thursday Islands and currently works as the Cross Cultural Liaison Officer for the Queensland Police Service. Part of the inaugural North Queensland Cowboys, he has also been a player and committee member of the FNQ Marlins Police Rugby League Club and a  member of the AFL Cape York Board of which he is currently Deputy Chairperson.