The Western Australian Government has thrown its support behind the Indigenous Player Alliance (IPA). The aim of the group is to support current and past Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander AFL players with the unique challenges they face before, during and after their AFL and AFLW careers.
Sport and Recreation Minister Mick Murray and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt today hosted a meeting of the IPA’s board, including chair – former Fremantle Docker and Brisbane Lions premiership player, Des Headland – at Parliament House in Perth.
The IPA’s interim directors include past AFL players Michael O’Loughlin, Gavin Wanganeen, Che Cockatoo-Collins and Kevin Caton.
The IPA is the peak body supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island men and women both in and beyond football, providing a support network for past players, advocacy, research, and financial literacy training for players and their families.
The Alliance also aims to work collaboratively to improve the AFL’s recruitment, retention and transition processes for Indigenous players, increasing the prospects and agency of players both during and after their football careers.
As stated by Sport and Recreation Minister Mick Murray:
“The WA Government understands and supports the objectives of the Indigenous Player Alliance, and I commend the work of Des and the board for their advocacy and cultural leadership.
“All professional sportspeople face challenges at various times in their career and can struggle once they hang up their boots, but the experiences of Indigenous players during their careers and their transition out of the AFL are unique.
“It’s particularly appropriate to be hosting the Indigenous Players Alliance in Perth, given the incredible roll of Indigenous AFL players hailing from WA, both now and throughout the history of our great game.”
Comment attributed IPA Chair Des Headland:
“The Indigenous Player Alliance board and members are looking forward to working with the State Government and the Aboriginal communities all over WA and across the nation.”