Legislative Council: Wednesday, June 01, 2022


Aboriginal Power Cup

The Hon. R.B. MARTIN (15:03): My question is to the Attorney-General. Will the Attorney-General update the council on the government's support for the recent Aboriginal Power Cup?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Attorney-General, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:03): I would be very pleased to, and I thank the honourable member for his important question, his support of Aboriginal reconciliation and his very strong support of the Port Adelaide Football Club, who have been part of the—

The PRESIDENT: Order! Shame!

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: —Aboriginal Power Cup. I will pay credit where credit is due: as a lifelong supporter and, for most my life, member of the Richmond Football Club, Port Adelaide, in my experience, have by far and away the best Aboriginal programs of any sporting club of any code anywhere in Australia, and I do commend them for that.

Now in its 15th year, the Santos Aboriginal Power Cup is a fixture of the South Australian sporting calendar and a real highlight for many students across our state. I know that, as a pretty ordinary goal umpire for the cup in previous years, it contributes some fantastic footy to our state and provides a lot of development opportunities for Aboriginal students, and it does incredibly important work in supporting Aboriginal young people through school, through their education and to set themselves up for a bright future.

The cup is and has been run by the Port Adelaide Football Club, in partnership with the South Australian Aboriginal Secondary Training Academy (SAASTA), and I am proud to say that my department, the Attorney-General's Department, is a major funder of this program through a $100,000 grant per year. In fact, the Attorney-General's Department began as the cup's only partner in its first year 15 years ago, but now is one of many supporters.

The cup aims to use the love many Aboriginal kids have of football and of competitive sport to support educational outcomes and career pathways. Participating students this year took part in workshops across the first two terms of the school year, before forming football teams and undertaking tasks that earned them 10 credits towards the completion of their SACE. Students who continue to attend school and complete assessment tasks are invited to take part in the carnival, which was held last week in the Adelaide Parklands on Karen Rolton Oval next to the CBD, competing on behalf of their school with their jumpers designed by their own teams.

It isn't just a lot of fun and a lot of good sport—the program has had tremendous results. I am advised that this year more than 566 students from 65 schools around South Australia took part in the Aboriginal Cup. Of the year 12 students who took part between March 2020 to December 2021, I am informed that 96 per cent completed their year 12 SACE successfully. I also understand that 100 per cent of teachers who responded to the survey after the 2021 Power Cup indicated an improvement in students' engagement in school programs, relationships to each other and confidence from the beginning of the school year to the end.

Governments quite rightly support many important programs, but the results from these are obvious. It was a distinct honour to speak at the opening of the carnival last week on 26 May, National Sorry Day and the day before Reconciliation Week started, and then again on Sunday at Adelaide Oval at the awards ceremony. You could actually feel in the room the passionate excitement the students from around South Australia had for the game and the positive benefits they experienced from taking part.

I congratulate all those who participated and the teachers, families and carers who support them, and I particularly thank the organisers, in particular Santos as a major sponsor, for the incredibly important work they do to support the next generation of Aboriginal leaders. This is more than a sports competition or a game of football—it's real, positive work towards reconciliation and it makes a real change in the lives of young Aboriginal people.