November 11, 2020 | WNBL news

Basketball Australia (BA) is aiming to contribute to the building of reconciliation via a culture of equality, opportunity, and growth and increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engagement and participation across all areas of basketball with the release of the organisation’s inaugural Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

The release of the RAP during NAIDOC Week, where this year’s theme is “Always Was, Always Will Be”, outlines the course of action for the period November 2020 – November 2022, that specifically addresses the identified needs to support reconciliation.

Though this RAP, BA will create opportunities for and support young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in its uniting passion for the sport of basketball. Sport is a way for all members of a community to connect, regardless of background, culture, gender, sexual orientation or difference and as the sport’s governing body. BA’s mission is to use its influence to have a positive social impact for and with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Introducing the Plan, Basketball Australia CEO Jerril Rechter AM said, “Today is a significant day for Basketball Australia in our vision to make certain that everyone in Australia values their connection with basketball by ensuring fair, safe and inclusive environments for all.

“Basketball is a favoured sport amongst Australians, with over 700,000 participants currently registered nationally. Australian basketball has, and continues to be represented by proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander athletes but as the sport’s governing body, we acknowledge much work needs to be done to deliver equality and representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at all levels and across all aspects of our game.

“Through this inaugural Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan, Basketball Australia seeks to build a culture of reconciliation to be shared amongst all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, with a focus on leadership and education of ourselves, our staff and our stakeholders” concluded Rechter.

The BA RAP Working Group consists of the below people and monitors the development, implementation and reporting of the RAP:

  • Co-Chair – Cilla Preece
  • Co-Chair – Paul Vandenbergh
  • BA CEO – Jerril Rechter AM
  • BA Pathways CEO – Darren Smith
  • BA Director of High-Performance Coaching and Talent Identification – Peter Lonergan
  • BA Head of Marketing and Events – Sarah Ripley
  • Australian Basketball Players’ Association General Manager Player Relations, Community and Culture – Melody Cooper (recently joined)

BA RAP Working Group Co-Chair Cilla Preece commented, “I am very proud to have been a part of the Basketball Australia Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan as an Indigenous person. The Reconciliation Action Plan is the first important piece of work to build vision, hope and inspiration to all Australians that are connected and involved with basketball”.

Paul Vandenbergh and BA RAP Working Group Co-Chair echoed Preece’s sentiments, ”We see the launch of Basketball Australia’s Reconciliation Action Plan as a significant step in the commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and are inspired by the many opportunities that exist to promote and respect the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. This RAP is a way we can capture, support and promote the oldest living culture in the world and documenting our vision for an inclusive future.

CLICK HERE to view Basketball Australia’s inaugural Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan.