25 May 2016

A Shorten Labor Government will boost Northern Territory Indigenous students’ access to education and leadership opportunities by investing in the AFL Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre’s full-time Indigenous training facility.

The Centre is already supporting the training and education of future Indigenous AFL stars, many of whom are from remote communities. Through Labor’s support, the Centre will also be able to house 30 students at Year 9 level for intensive academic development and nurturing of sporting talent.

The program will further focus on the wellbeing of Indigenous students to support their continuing education and football development interstate.

For those who stay in the Territory, Labor support will provide for the construction of a new training facility at the Centre where they will undertake traineeships in hospitality or trades.

The training facility will be modelled on the national award-winning Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre (PICAC) and administered by the AFLNT, Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre and PICAC.

The AFL would not be the sport it is today without the outstanding achievements of Indigenous players, from trailblazers like Joe Johnson in the early 1900s to champions and role models like Graham “Polly” Farmer, Maurice Rioli, Nicky Winmar, Michael Long, Andrew McLeod and Adam Goodes. We need to ensure tomorrow’s stars are provided the opportunities they need to achieve the same heights.

Labor’s commitment will provide young Indigenous students the chance to further their education and build on their sporting talents in a supportive and culturally safe environment.

Skilled trades change the lives of people who train in them and the communities they serve. They underpin vital services which we all take for granted. 

Training young people in a skill they have for life means that wherever their football career might take them, they have the tools at their disposal to make a living and make a full contribution to the communities in which they live. 

The previous federal Labor Government provided an $11 million investment to build the Centre. Today’s $10.7 million investment will help the Centre take the next step to strengthen and support young Indigenous Territorians.

Labor is in a position to make this investment because we are opposing the Government's election decision to spend $50 billion on a tax cut for big business. 

On National Sorry Day, Labor reaffirms its commitment to closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage, including the significant gap in education outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students.

Closing the Gap and achieving reconciliation demand more of us than words alone. We must be prepared to invest in opportunity, to break down barriers and to extend the First Australians a full and equal share in our nation's future. 

We have a long way to go, and there is much work to be done. Innovative ideas like the Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre give us new hope and new ideas on how to make progress.