Super Rugby


Queensland Rugby Union Announces Inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan

The Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) launched its inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) during National Reconciliation week at the home of Rugby in Queensland, St.George Ballymore House.

QRU CEO Richard Barker said the creation of QRU’s first RAP was a significant milestone in recognising the important contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to the past, present and future of the code in Queensland.

Mr Barker said: “I sincerely thank Reconciliation Australia and the QRU’s RAP Working Group for their contribution and support in the development of our first RAP.

“The QRU recognises that rugby plays a part in the rich sporting and cultural life of millions of Australians. Through our involvement in rugby, we are fortunate to be in the position to assist to overcome barriers and create genuine opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, that will assist in promoting the oldest continuous living culture in the world.

“QRU believes there are future opportunities for growth and learning and welcomes the opportunity to continue to support our rugby community on the journey of reconciliation. Building sustainable programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and celebrating existing Indigenous rugby initiatives are key components of making rugby a game for all Queenslanders to enjoy.”

Selwyn Button, the Assistant Director General – State Schools Indigenous Education, Department of Education and Training and who is also a member of the QRU Indigenous Advisory Group, believes the RAP is another demonstration of QRU’s commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities in Queensland.

Mr Button said: “Today’s launch marks another step on the journey the QRU is taking to ensure they are nurturing the next generation of leaders across our communities in Queensland.

“Whilst supporting future Indigenous leaders is not the core business of elite sporting clubs, the QRU has embraced the challenge and established strong working relationships with partnering communities, families and schools to achieve this shared vision.

“The primary focus of the Queensland Reds Indigenous Program (QRIP) isn’t about rugby, but is designed to identify, support and grow our future leaders. It is not just about turning up to school, but going above and beyond to demonstrate excellence through participation in activities that encourage students to reach their true potential, whilst using role models and incentives for ongoing engagement.”

Since 2010, the QRIP - which has a focus on enhancing education and employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Queensland - has continued to expand and now delivers award-winning state-wide programs to encompass urban, regional, remote and discreet communities.

This is best demonstrated publicly through the establishment of the Indigenous Super Rugby Round for the St.George Queensland Reds, proudly displaying Indigenous themed jerseys for the game and celebrating the achievements of its QRIP participants.

In recent times, QRU programs have increased participation across partnering communities and schools leading to quality outcomes, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander university graduates, employees and trainees. The Reds Generation Next Program is delivering 99% Year 12 graduation and 92% successful transition to employment or further education, which compare very favourably to Education Queensland’s state-wide figures from similar programing.

In addition, the QRU also provides leadership and access to our rugby pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from the grassroots to elite level in the state.

The Queensland Rugby Union has been producing Indigenous excellence on the rugby field since the early days of Frank Ivory through to recent years with the Fainga’a twins and now present Reds squad member Moses Sorovi. This also extends through the QRU’s ongoing support to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander player participation by actively engaging with the Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Foundation.

Testament to this engagement has been the increasing dominance of Queensland Indigenous rugby teams competing at national levels and player selection for national representative teams.

Through QRIP and the first RAP, the QRU is assisting the Queensland community to develop the next generation of First Peoples leaders.

Note to Editors

QRIP at a glance:

Program outcomes

  • 3 communities (Cherbourg, Woorabinda, Yarrabah)
  • 26 schools
  • 85 participants
  • 55,655 mentor to participant contact hours, including the leadership camps
  • 100% primary to high school transition rate
  • 92% school attendance for participating students in 2015 up 6% from 2013
  • 92% program retention rate

Reds Generation Next Program at a glance

The Reds Generation Next Program (formerly Learn Earn Legend!) was first established in partnership with the Australian Government in 2012. The initial program included 40 participants across 10 schools in the Greater Brisbane region. Working with Year 11 and Year 12 participants, the program aims to address the following Close the Gap targets:

  • to halve the gap in reading, writing and numeracy achievements for Indigenous children within a decade
  • to halve the gap for Indigenous students in Year 12 equivalent attainment by 2020
  • to halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a decade

Reds Generation Next (RGN) works with students through the later stages of high school focusing on improving school attendance and retention rates as well as Year 12 or equivalent attainment. The program also centres on building aspiration and transition opportunities by continuing to mentor and support students in their preferred pathway for their first-year post school graduation.

Using our corporate notebook of over 300 businesses, education and training institutes, the program aims to closely align and provide opportunities for the participants to achieve their dreams.

Today’s program has expanded from the initial Brisbane region delivery to encompass 13 schools across Central and South Queensland, aligning with the programming of the wider Queensland Reds Indigenous Program.

Since 2012, over 260 participants have been part of the program and benefitted from the mentoring provided by our specialist staff.

Through the relationships built and the opportunities provided by the program, RGN has delivered the following outcomes since its inception: -

  • 99% Year 12 graduation
  • 92% successful transition to employment or further education

These figures reflect the program’s exceptional outcomes when compared to Education Queensland’s 2016 Next Step Report finding that only 71.4% of 2015 Indigenous Year 12 graduates had transitioned into further education or commenced employment.

Rugby Traveller