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Aboriginal Football Programs

The WAFC Aboriginal Football Program provides programs and events to increase involvement of Aboriginal people and communities in all facets of the football industry. Our program also strives to promote community harmony, reduce antisocial behaviour, improve health and develop employment opportunities. The Aboriginal Football Program has three key priority areas on which projects are based:

  • Community Engagement
  • Player Recruitment and Retention
  • Education and Employment

WAFC Reconciliation Action Plan

The WAFC Reconciliation Action Plan aims to build upon the strong relationship between Aboriginal people and the Western Australian football community. In doing so the RAP will continue to grow this relationship, increase respect and recognition and provide further opportunities for Aboriginal people to participate in all aspects associated with football in Western Australia. In addition the RAP will improve social relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Western Australians.

Download: WAFC Reconciliation Action Plan 2017-19

Nicky Winmar Carnival

The Nicky Winmar Carnival was originally created to provide young Aboriginal youth with another platform to enter the WA Football talent pathway. The carnival targets disengaged players with the aim of getting them back into the football system at club level and in development squads. 

The Inaugural cup was held in 2007 and consisted of five teams.

The Nicky Winmar Carnival provides participants with a direct opportunity to:

  • Participate in a structured WA football marquee event
  • Achieve coaching and umpiring accreditation
  • Re-engage with educational and sport participation programs
  • Connect with AFL/WAFL mentors and role models
  • Potentially be identified for WAFL development pathways
  • Represent the state through selection into the AFLs National KickStart Championship

The overall goal of the carnival is to increase the amount of Aboriginal youth playing at community club level and representing their WAFL Zones in development squads.

The Nicky Winmar Carnival is played in a round robin format over one day. Competing teams are based on WAFL metro and regional zones. All teams are coached by Aboriginal coaches.

The carnival also provides participants and coaches with the opportunity to be selected into the WA KickStart U15 State Aboriginal Squad who compete at the national KickStart National Championships. 

KickStart National Championships

The KickStart Program was developed to provide a supported talented player pathway program that compliments the National U16 Championship and exposes Indigenous players, coaches, doctors, physiotherapists and trainers to an elite AFL program environment.

The WA KickStart team and coaches are selected based on performances at the Nicky Winmar Carnival and recommendations from player development officers and other talent identification staff.

AFL Footy Means Business Program

The AFL and Rio Tinto Footy Means Business Program will harness the power of AFL football to connect with Indigenous males in the 18 to 24 age group for potential mainstream employment and education opportunities. The Program will identify 50 participants per year for four years based on their potential to act as a positive role model within their community. This Program is designed with the philosophy that: 

  • Every participant is employable;
  • Programs will focus on job matching; and
  • Jobs will fit participants.

The AFL and Rio Tinto have set a 100% target for the participants to be engaged in employment/education or training at the completion of the program. Successful employment outcomes also include assisting participants to transition from employment within a community organisation to mainstream employment.

To be selected the participants must be:

  • Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander
  • Employed (part time/apprenticeships accepted) OR undertaking education or training OR involved in community programs
  • Disciplined/ Aspirational
  • Display qualities of Leadership

The WA Football Commission Supports the Footy Means Business program by assisting in the identification and coordination of all WA based participants.

Freo Street Football and Midnight Football Program 

WAFL NAIDOC Round

The WAFL NAIDOC Round was instigated by South Fremantle and Claremont instigated the event in 2007. NAIDOC Round at the WAFL coincides with the National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) week celebrations, which are held annually across Australia to celebrate the heritage, achievements and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 

All WAFL clubs playing in the Round will wear uniforms designed to represent the heritage of the clubs and their indigenous players.  Aboriginal artist Richard Walley teamed up with the WAFL to create the majority of jumpers, while the Department of Indigenous Affairs funded their production.

Key program partnerships

The WA Football Commission proudly works alongside key community and government organisations to assist in the development and delivery of the Aboriginal Football Programs. These partners include:

  • Department of Sport and Recreation
  • Department of Aboriginal Affairs
  • Department of Health, Aboriginal Heal
  • AFL SportsReady
  • Nyoongar Sports Association
  • Rio Tinto
  • David Wirrapanda Foundation
  • AFL

Employment & Education

The WAFC currently employs a number of full-time, part-time and school based trainees through partnerships with AFL SportsReady and the Department of Aboriginal Affairs. To find out more about potential positions please contact Patrick De Haan on 9381 5599

The South East Engagement Project

The South-East Engagement (SEE) Project aims to use football as a vehicle to promote community harmony and social inclusion and to also improve education, employment and health. The project targets Indigenous youth that are based within the South-East Metropolitan Area. 

Other project outcomes include:

  • Engagement with local Indigenous Community within the targeted area
  • Improvement of understanding of Indigenous culture within the football industry
  • Identification and development of talented Indigenous players and coaches

The South East Engagement Project was developed following a formation of a key partnership between the WA Football Commission and the Department of Aboriginal Affairs.

AFL Indigenous Round

Today the AFL Indigenous Round is a celebration of our country's Indigenous culture and players that have shaped Australia's Game. A game that unites us all, players and fans, standing strong and proud for the past, present and future generations.

The WA Football Commission proudly supports the AFL Indigenous Round through assistance in promotion and coordination of the round to the local community. The WA Football Commission also coordinates a curtain raiser featuring two Indigenous teams from WA. The curtain raiser is played prior to the official AFL Indigenous Round fixture.