ACT association recognised for reconciliation efforts

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Tuggeranong Netball Association (TNA) has lead the way for reconciliation in the netball community in the ACT, through celebrations and recognition of Aboriginal culture and increased opportunities for the development of Aboriginal netballers. TNA is an Association Winner in the 2016 Australia Post One Netball Community Awards.

In May this year, TNA celebrated its third annual National Reconciliation Week event. The morning opened with a Smoking Ceremony and Welcome to Country presented by Elder Paul House (whose children are involved with TNA) before two games were played between the Aboriginal members of the association and the TNA President’s Invitational team, who all wore customised players’ bibs designed by artist, Mal Johnson.

TNA President Jonathan Toze said of the experience, “My eyes were opened to what (reconciliation) meant to our Indigenous members. They were just overjoyed. I’d never really appreciated what reconciliation meant until I saw what it meant to them. It was more than a token.”

One of the most rewarding moments to date according to Jonathan has been the development of the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Netball Tournament with youth, adult and mixed teams from around Australia competing. The tournament, hosted by TNA, it is now a key date on the Aboriginal netball calendar and is now in its second year.

Each year, TNA and its patron, Federal MP Gai Brodtmann present the TNA Patron’s Scholarship which was awarded to 12 players last year. The scholarship provides financial support to low income families who are members of the association and direct administrative support to Aboriginal families to assist in applications for grants to the ACT Indigenous Sporting Participation funds.

“There’s been affirmation for Tuggeranong that it’s a good place to be,” Jonathan said on TNA being named as an Australia Post One Netball Community Award winner. “The recognition from the rest of the ACT and nationally, from Netball Australia and Australia Post is fantastic.  It’s such an honour to be recognised in such a way. It’s all about supporting as many people as possible to participate in netball. I’ve seen what netball does to the general community.”

Australia Post One Netball Ambassadors Beryl Friday and Sepi Hawke visited TNA during the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Netball Tournament in October to present TNA with the Award, which includes a signed netball from the Australian Netball Diamonds and an Australia Post Load & Go card valued at $1000 for the association. Beryl and Sepi also ran a clinic with children attending the clinic and spent time meeting participating teams and the tournament organisers.

When asked for his advice for other associations to build more culturally safe netball communities, Jonathan said, “It doesn’t take much to recognise all the different groups, and everybody benefits by making it a more inclusive environment. The diversity is a fantastic outcome.”

Netball Australia congratulates Tuggeranong Netball Association on winning an Australia Post One Netball Community Award.

To find out how your club or association can get involved with the One Netball program, visit onenetball.org.au