Rugby league was the first major Australian sport to commit to a Reconciliation Action Plan, but CEO Todd Greenberg wants the code to do even more in the future.
Thursday is National Close the Gap Day and Greenberg took the opportunity to reinforce the NRL's commitment to ending the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.
Greenberg was proud of the fact the NRL has this year become the first national sporting organisation to reach ''Elevate'' status, the highest of the four levels of the Reconciliations Action Plan.
The National Close the Gap Day and campaign is in its second decade of being Australia's largest initiative to close the gap on life expectancy.
To achieve health equality between Indigenous and non-indigenous Australians by 2030, this initiative urges the government to take further action.
The NRL has recently implemented a number of initiatives that assist in improving and the health and well-being of indigenous communities.
''On behalf of the National Rugby League, I am proud that as a game and as a community, Rugby League continues to raise the benchmark in embracing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,'' he said.
''2018 marks the start of our fourth Reconciliation Action Plan – the highest level of RAP, with our game becoming the first National Sporting Organisation to develop an Elevate RAP.''
''From celebrating and recognising our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through our All Stars and Indigenous Round games; to the growing number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait players participating in our sport and the individuals employed at all levels across the game.
''Away from the field, our School to Work program has seen hundreds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students successfully completing their transition from school into higher education, training and employment.
''And our mental health and education programs continue to play a vital role in ensuring that our youth have hope and heroes to look up to, encouraging them to continue to live a happier and healthier life.
''We will continue to use our collective voice to positively support key social inclusion issues, including positive mental wellbeing; increased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education and employment opportunities; and helping to eradicate domestic violence.
“We stand as one in our game – side by side with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.''
The Key focus areas for the 2018-2022 Elevate RAP include;
- Celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural and achievement through our NRL major events, resulting in a greater understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and improved relationships between all Australians.
- Working with NRL Clubs and Rugby League organisation on the development and delivery of RAPs so that Rugby League organisations are actively contributing to reconciliation.
- Establishing a coordinated effort across the major sporting organisations in Australia to use sport as an important tool to achieve reconciliation in Australia.
- Developing Indigenous leaders in the game through our Indigenous Players Camps, Senior Players Advisory Group, Youth Summit for young Indigenous leaders and ensuring the 5% of our NRL staff who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander have tailored career development plans.