Minister for Sport signs partnership for Pacific Islands Netball.

The Minister for Sport Kate Ellis will today announce a new $2.95 million partnership to build netball development programs and help strengthen Pacific island communities.

The Pacific Sports Partnership will be signed in Adelaide at an ANZ Championship match between the Adelaide Thunderbirds and New Zealand team Southern Steel.

Ms Ellis will sign the agreement with Netball Australia Chief Executive Kate Palmer, Netball New Zealand Chief Executive Raelene Castle and Oceania Netball Federation President Tina Browne.

“Sport has the power to bring people together and deliver great health and social development dividends to communities across the world,” Ms Ellis said.

The initial four year partnership will focus on the Oceania Netball Federation’s member federations of Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Norfolk Island, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

A series of netball development programs will target girls and young women. The sessions will teach netball skills and engage girls in the sport, as a way to build social development in Pacific Island communities.

The partnership will also ensure the development of trained, in-country development coordinators within Pacific netball federations to deliver the programs at a local level.

“Netball is a popular, fun and athletic sport that delivers particular benefits to girls and women. I expect to see a rise in netball participation rates in these countries as a result of this great initiative,” Ms Ellis said.

“The partnership will give players, administrators, coaches and officials the chance to build skills that they can use on and off the court to strengthen their community.”

The Prime Minister announced $26 million in sports-related assistance to the Pacific island countries at the Pacific Islands Forum last year, including $15 million over five years to establish sport partnerships.

Pacific Sports Partnerships sees agreements between the Australian Agency for International Development and the Australian Sports Commission and regional sports federations.

Pacific Sports Partnerships is part of the Government’s Australian Sports Outreach Program, which works with developing countries to deliver inclusive sports programs that help strengthen communities.

Two other Pacific Sports Partnerships are already underway with football and cricket.