NRL recognises Reconciliation Week
As part of Reconciliation Week, the NRL has unveiled a special plaque that will take pride of place at the entrance to Rugby League Central.
The plaque acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation and their Elders both past and present, the traditional owners of the land on which the NRL headquarters are located.
Each year from 27 May to 3 June, National Reconciliation Week (NRW) celebrates and builds on the respectful relationships shared by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians. The week-long celebration is an ideal opportunity for all Australians to explore ways to join the national reconciliation effort.
"The 27th of May is a highly significant day, not just for Indigenous people but for all Australians," said Ms Linda Burney, NSW Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs.
"It is the anniversary of the 1967 referendum which led to Aboriginal people being recognised as citizens within our own country."
At that referendum more than 90 per cent of Australians voted 'Yes' to give the Australian Government the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
"The 3rd of June, which is the last day of reconciliation week, is the anniversary of the High Court's Mabo decision in 1992, which once and for all threw out the concept of terra nullius 'empty land' which was a doctrine Australia was claimed under by the British crown," Ms Burney said.
"Reconciliation week for Aboriginal people is an opportunity to celebrate culture, to celebrate and explain connection to country. It's also a wonderful week for schools and communities to demonstrate that they respect the whole of Aboriginal culture and contribution.
"It sends a very strong message across the community that reconciliation is critical to nation building – it is what underpins nation building."
There are currently more than 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players across the NRL and NYC including some of the game's most entertaining and influential players such as Greg Inglis and Johnathon Thurston.
"Reconciliation for the NRL is an ongoing process. We have a stretch reconciliation action plan which has demonstrable goals that the NRL and the game are required to achieve to meet the objectives of the plan," Ms Burney, who is also Chair of the Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council, said.
"You would not have seen [the new plaque] three to five years ago, so it is an indication of the ongoing educative program at the NRL.
"The NRL is one of the only major sporting codes that has a reconciliation action plan, and that is a demonstration of its commitment to Indigenous people."