coin toss

Road to Reconciliation

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is celebrated across Australia each year between 27 May and 3 June. The dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey—the anniversaries of the successful 1967 referendum and the High Court Mabo decision.

This week GrogWatch had the opportunity to spend time with a very committed woman from a remote community who is taking steps to prevent alcohol problems in her community.

Annalisa Young is Coordinator of the Ltyentyies Sports Committee. She is from the Ltyentye Apurte community, also known as Santa Teresa, 80kms south-east of Alice Springs. They are the first remote Indigenous community in the country to be part of the Australian Drug Foundation’s Good Sports program.

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The Good Sports program works in communities to ensure sports clubs are safe and healthy  places by providing support to manage alcohol responsibly.

The Australian Drug Foundation has been working with Ltyentye Apurte for the last two years to tailor the national Good Sports model specifically for that community.

Though Ltyentye Apurte is a dry community, leaders have identified sport, particularly away games, as an issue when it comes to alcohol and drugs. Leaders of the community have been concerned about young sports players failing to return home after away matches or secretly bringing back cannabis and alcohol.

The Ltyentyies Sports Committee see health promotion at home as an area that can make a difference and have developed a code of conduct for local sports clubs around alcohol and tobacco and have been actively promoting Good Sports values to the wider community.

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This is a milestone achievement for the Australian Drug Foundation. Good Sports started in Victoria more than a decade ago and has about 6,500 sports clubs committed to the program across the country.

In Melbourne, Fitzroy Football Club long ago embraced the program and has reached the highest level of program accreditation. To celebrate National Reconciliation Week, Annalisa visited the local club at their inner-suburban home ground over the weekend, tossing the coin at the club before heading off to the ‘Long Walk’ and the Dreamtime AFL clash as a guest of Essendon Football Club. The grassy ovals in the heart of café-culture Fitzroy are a far cry from the sandy desert playing field Annalisa is used to in Ltyentye Apurte.

Annalisa will be presenting the Ltyentye Apurte story at the National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee (NIDAC) Conference later this week.

Based on the theme What Works: Doing it our way, NIDAC 2014 aims to highlight approaches that are working to reduce the harm among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.