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RLPA launches first-ever Reconciliation Action Plan

The Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) has today launched its first-ever Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (2021-23), timed in recognition of National Reconciliation Week.

Also coinciding with the annual NRL Indigenous Round in the Telstra Premiership, the inaugural RAP is the culmination of many months of work by both players and RLPA staff in collaboration with Reconciliation Australia.

The RLPA’s RAP features 16 Action Points that are centered around Relationships, Respect, Opportunities and Governance.

The Reconciliation Action Plan will form an integral part of the RLPA’s strategic direction moving forward, ultimately enhancing the Association’s connection with, and advocacy for, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players.

The RAP also recognises the important role that the RLPA and its members can play in the wider community and the opportunity that exists to promote Reconciliation initiatives through established platforms.

Rugby League Players’ Association CEO, Clint Newton, outlined the importance of developing the organisation’s first-ever RAP.

“This is an important milestone for the RLPA and something that I’m incredibly proud to see come to life,” Newton said.

“Developing our RAP was a vital step in ensuring that we solidify our commitment to helping create a truly reconciled Australia.

“I believe that rugby league can play an important role in our country’s journey to Reconciliation, and as the representatives of the players, we are committed to achieving outcomes that ripple outward, enabling current and future generations to flourish.

“I also want to take this opportunity to commend the incredible and passionate group of individuals who were directly involved in developing this RAP.

“The group was a made up of a cross section from our staff and membership, which has resulted in this Plan truly reflecting the values that define the RLPA.

“This is just the start of our journey, and in line with the theme of National Reconciliation Week, we look forward to demonstrating that Reconciliation is more than a word.”

Canberra Raiders forward Ryan James worked alongside fellow players Joel Thompson, Adam Elliott, Shaylee Bent, Angus Crichton, Jasmin Allende and Amber Pilley in the Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group.

“I’m really grateful to have been part of the Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group with the RLPA,” James said.

“As a proud Bundjalung man, it has been a rewarding experience to play a role in developing this RAP as I believe it will make a positive difference to not only the playing group and the RLPA, but the wider community.

“This is just the beginning and I’m looking forward to playing a role in achieving the deliverables that we’ve set out and I’ll be encouraging other players to get involved too.

“The RLPA has taken an important step forward for all players and I’m excited by what’s ahead in this journey.”

Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group member and former Indigenous All Stars Representative, Amber Pilley, echoed James’ sentiment.

“To see this RAP come to life after being part of the working group is really special,” Pilley said.

“The commitment that the RLPA staff and the players in the working group have shown to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has been really great to see.

“Ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players are supported, invested in and properly engaged by the game is in my view essential.

“I’m a proud Wiradjuri woman and I believe that First Nations people should be at the forefront of our game and this RAP will be an important step forward in making that a reality.”

RLPA Player Operations Manager, Tom Symonds, led the project alongside fellow staff members Lina Caccamo, Brock Corfe and Sandra Rogers.

“This has been a really positive experience for everyone involved,” Symonds said.

“Developing our RAP has been an important project for the RLPA and has provided many of our staff an opportunity to learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their culture.

“This is obviously just the beginning of that process and we’ve been lucky enough to have a quality group of players involved in the working group.

“It has very much been a team effort to get to where we are, and I’d like to thank my fellow staff in Brock, Lina and Sandra for their support in bringing this to life.

“We all have a role to play when it comes to Reconciliation and I hope other organisations like us recognise the importance of developing their own Reconciliation Action Plans.” 

The artwork for the RLPA’s Reconciliation Action Plan was developed by Bundjalung/Yugambeh artist Christine Slabb.

The RLPA’s RAP booklet was produced by Elliott St Typesetting and Design, a Supply Nation registered graphic designer.

The RAP will also be supported by the establishment of the RLPA’s Diversity and Inclusion Policy.

You can view a copy of the RLPA’s RAP by clicking here.