A new joint initiative between the North Queensland Cowboys, the National Rugby League and QLD and Australian Governments will help young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders from remote areas in Queensland complete their education and find jobs.
NRL Cowboys House is being supported by a $9.5 million investment from the Australian Government and will provide accommodation in Townsville for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders from the beginning of the 2017 school year.
Co-captain and Origin star Johnathan Thurston, with former champion fullback Matt Bowen, will be Cowboys Ambassadors for NRL Cowboys House which will be home to up to 50 students from remote areas in northern Queensland attending secondary schools in Townsville.
Commonwealth Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion said NRL Cowboys House said NRL Cowboys House will provide accommodation for students from remote communities and ensure they have the best chance possible of completing high school and moving into the workforce or on to higher education.
Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the Cowboys had a high profile throughout the communities in northern Queensland.
"NRL Cowboys House will be managed by the Cowboys Community Foundation, the charity arm of the North Queensland Cowboys, with financial and other support from the NRL."
NRL Commission Chairman John Grant commended the Cowboys and both levels of Government for committing to greater education support in North Queensland for Indigenous students.
"The NRL has a very strong resolve to support and include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people right across Australia, particularly in relation to education," Mr Grant said.
"NRL Cowboys House will be a fantastic education hub for North Queensland and I look forward to seeing the success of students in years to come."
North Queensland Cowboys CEO Greg Tonner said NRL Cowboys House fitted perfectly with the football club's commitments to communities in the north, with the Cowboys work ingclosely with families and community leaders from the remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to ensure the success of the program and the young people involved.
Minister Scullion said the NRL Cowboys House program aimed to give the students the best chance of doing well in Year 12, in higher education and to find jobs for students after they finished high school. He said Construction Skills Queensland had committed to a program of matching Year 11 and 12 students to local businesses and would subsidise participants' costs.
Mr de Brenni said the students would be selected with the support of an NRL Cowboys House advisory committee that would include representatives of the NRL, school principals and community advocates, as well as the North Queensland Cowboys.