By Ant Wingard @AntWingard
The Brisbane Lions today launched their first ever Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) at the Kangaroo Point Cliffs in front of a host of the clubs’ staff, players and media.
The cliffs painted the perfect backdrop for the historic even as , a cultural hub and old hunting ground for the area’s Yerongpan people.
The launch of the Brisbane Lions’ RAP coincided with International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.
In accordance to the RAP, the Brisbane Lions have the opportunity to engage and learn from Indigenous Australians, not only in the greater Brisbane Lions area, but also in Victoria through the club’s Fitzroy roots and across the country.
As an inclusive sporting organisation, the Brisbane Lions aim to develop a respectful and welcoming workforce able to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders under the RAP.
A nine-person committee was formed to oversee the establishment of the RAP, including current AFL and AFLW players, Allen Christensen and Ally Anderson, as well as AFL Queensland State Multicultural and Indigenous Engagement Manager, Darren Allie.
The committee will drive the RAP alongside key stakeholders across departments at the club.
Speaking at the RAP launch, Christensen, who is also co-chairperson of the committee, welcomed the introduction of the initiative at the club.
“It’s unreal. As a club, we’ve taken a huge step forward today. The real work starts now that we have this RAP document that will keep us accountable,” Christensen said.
“I was thinking about it last night. It kinda made me a bit emotional, just thinking about how far we have come.”
Given the RAP has now been enacted at the club, Christensen also expects the Lions to now become a league leader in Indigenous affairs.
“I feel like it’s now a really attractive destination for indigenous players to come,” he said.
Brisbane boasts a rich history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players who have played at the club.
In all, over 35 players, including five of the current AFL and AFLW crop, have donned the club colours.
Brisbane Lions Chairman, Andrew Wellington, highlighted the importance of the document which will be in place from now until August 2019.
“Form 2018 onwards, we must live out the values we aspire to hold and uphold targets set in this document,” Wellington stated in a message within the RAP.
“This how all of us, as a Lions community, can drive small but integral steps towards achieving reconciliation in our community.