The Melbourne Football Club proudly launched the second iteration of its Reconciliation Action Plan on 26 February 2022 coinciding with the AFLW's Indigenous Round.
The Innovate RAP will span from February 2022 to January 2024 and build on the significant outcomes and efforts of the club’s inaugural document, which was introduced in 2017.
Melbourne, having achieved substantial progress over the past five years, will now look to further embed important policies within the organisation, as well as provide greater education to its members and supporters.
CEO Gary Pert said the launch was an important day for the club, as it takes another step towards a reconciled future.
“Launching our second Innovate RAP is something that fills all at the Melbourne Football Club with great pride,” Pert said.
“We’ve taken some significant and crucial steps since the launch of our inaugural RAP, but now is the time for us to strengthen our connections and provide more opportunities for growth.
“Our vision for reconciliation is to unite Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with non-Indigenous people through the great game of AFL, to truly embrace history, culture and community.
“We recognise our position as leaders and the impact that our Board, staff, players, members and supporters can all have.
“We look forward to bringing our fans along on this journey with us, and having them part of some significant upcoming initiatives, as we continue to work towards a reconciled Australia.”
Since formalising its efforts and aims in 2017, Melbourne has been successful in creating meaningful outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities, while continuing to evolve understanding of reconciliation.
The club has strengthened its commitment through key priorities, such as embedding Cultural Awareness Training for all staff and players, implementing a Cultural Immersion Program in Alice Springs/Mparntwe, recording its team song in local language and introducing ‘Flash’ Mascot (the first Mascot of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent).
In addition, the Santa Teresa/Ltyentye Apurte Oval Project, which transformed a red dirt pitch into a lush green community hub, is one that many Demons hold close to their hearts.
Pert said the initiative, which is supported by the Atyenhenge Atherre Aboriginal Corporation (AAAC) and the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC), is representative of the club’s desire to drive change.
“Grassing an oval in the heart of Santa Teresa has filled our club with immense pride,” Pert said.
“The hard and unstable surface of old had increased risk of injury and been a barrier for sport participation, so to see the community able to now enjoy a kick on the ground is really special.
“Our presence in the Alice Springs region is stronger than ever, which is thanks to our connection to Santa Teresa, our annual ‘Heart of the Nation’ match and key focuses within our RAP.”
Through this RAP, Melbourne hopes to nurture a welcoming and inclusive environment, that is socially, culturally and spiritually safe and accessible for Torres Strait Islander peoples, both now and into the future.
The RAP is endorsed by Pert, championed by GM – AFL Football Performance Alan Richardson and is supported by the club’s RAP Working Group, alongside the CEO of Reconciliation Australia Karen Mundine.
2017-2019 Reconciliation Action Plan
Our previous Reconciliation Action Plan, spanning from 2017 to 2019 can be downloaded below.