The National Centre for Indigenous Excellence today hosted the 2012 NRL Indigenous All Stars team announcement and jersey launch.
Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development and Minister for Sport Mark Arbib said this was the third year of the All Stars game and thanked the National Rugby League for its continued involvement in the Learn. Earn. Legend! program.
“The partnership with the NRL, in particular the annual All Stars match, has been phenomenal in spreading the Learn. Earn. Legend! message to stay in school, get a job and be a legend,” Senator Arbib said.
“One of the best ways to ensure young Indigenous Australians make a successful transition from school to work is to put them on a pathway to a job while they are still at school and I’m glad that’s the message the players are giving their young fans.”
Senator Arbib said the 2012 All Stars game was even more significant as the trophy would be renamed in memory of Rugby League legend Artie Beetson.
The Gillard Government will also award two $5,000 scholarships in his honour.
“Artie was an inspirational role model to Indigenous Australians of all ages. In his post-playing career he dedicated himself to ensuring Indigenous Australians were given the best opportunities available,” Senator Arbib said.
“As part of the Learn. Earn. Legend! and Former Origin Greats Artie programs the Government, the NRL and the FOGs will select a young male and female Indigenous Australian and they will nominate an area they wish to pursue – further education, a traineeship or an apprenticeship.
“This scholarship will continue the legacy of Artie in encouraging young Indigenous Australians to work hard and achieve their best.”
Senator Arbib and 2012 Indigenous All Stars captain Jonathan Thurston unveiled the 2012 jersey designed by Sid Domic.
“The jersey features a turtle shell, representing the people of the Torres Strait Island, boomerangs to represent the Australian Aboriginal people and a blue circle symbolising the Gold Coast, where the game is played each year,” Senator Arbib said.
“All the players in the 2012 team are inspirational role models to young Indigenous Australians. They are examples of what you can achieve through hard work and determination.
“Next year’s All Stars game will be very exciting and extremely competitive. The Indigenous All Stars took out the 2010 game and the NRL All Stars won this year which makes for some great bragging rights for the winner in 2012.”
Senator Arbib said the Australian Government was committed to Closing the Gap on Indigenous disadvantage. Part of this commitment is to halve the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous unemployment within a decade.
“The NRL have done a fantastic job in supporting the Learn. Earn. Legend! program and I congratulate them in their efforts to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage,” Senator Arbib said.