Legislative Council: Tuesday, August 29, 2023


Aboriginal Basketball Academy

The Hon. R.B. MARTIN (15:24): My question is to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. Will the minister please inform the council about his recent visit to a session of the Aboriginal Basketball Academy?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:24): I thank the honourable member for his question and his interest in this area. Fortunately, I happen to remember that visit well, so I am able to inform the chamber about it. It was a pleasure recently to be asked to join a session for the female athletes of the Aboriginal Basketball Academy at the St Clair Recreation Centre during NAIDOC Week. As luck would have it, this session was attended by Australian basketball legend—and, I would argue, the greatest team sports athlete Australia has ever produced—Lauren Jackson.

The Aboriginal Basketball Academy (ABA) was established in 2017 by a group of current and former Woodville Basketball Club members, with the aim of enriching the lives of Aboriginal basketball student athletes and encouraging the students to further their education by interweaving it with basketball. One day a week students attend the stadium at St Clair, instead of their traditional high school environment, to participate in the ABA's basketball and education programs.

The program targets senior school students who are keen basketball players and who are committed to their educational opportunities, and offers professional-level coaching, cardiovascular training, motivational presentations and ongoing development of their teamwork and leadership skills.

When I visited the ABA recently they were hosting a session of the She Hoops program, spearheaded by former Australian Olympic champion Lauren Jackson, and it was a great pleasure to attend to see both what the ABA and the She Hoops program are delivering. She Hoops seeks to increase the participation and confidence of women and girls in basketball by connecting them with high-level coaching and mentorship in a safe, inclusive environment.

At the end of the session Lauren Jackson took students through on-court drills and a leadership session, together with local basketball star Ally Wilson. It was clear to see for all who were there that the students were inspired by both Lauren and Ally's passion for the sport, their commitment to high pride performance and leadership at an elite level. I congratulate all from the Aboriginal Basketball Academy and the She Hoops program who aim to help these student athletes reach all of their goals.