Minister for Health and Sport Sussan Ley today, on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, paid tribute to the significant contribution Indigenous athletes have made in the Australian sporting landscape.
Ms Ley said the Abbott Government had committed $600,000 to help Indigenous athletes, coaches, managers and officials reach their potential through the Elite Indigenous Travel and Accommodation Assistance Programme (EITAAP) to attend official national championships and international competitions.
“Indigenous athletes have played a significant role in our nation’s sporting success for as long as sport has been part of Australians’ lives,” Ms Ley said.
“There are simply too many highlights to name them all, but Cathy Freeman’s effort in Sydney at the 2000 Olympics to win gold in the women’s 400 metres will forever be an iconic moment in Australian sport.
“More recently Patty Mills reached the pinnacle of world sport in winning an NBA championship and every weekend we marvel at the exploits of Indigenous champions in all our football codes, including leading women such as the Matilda’s Kyah Simon and Lydia Williams.”
Ms Ley said the Elite Indigenous Travel and Accommodation Assistance Programme is part of a suite of programmes to help all Australian athletes including approximately $3 million for Local Sporting Champions and $12 million to more than 750 eligible athletes under the direct athlete support program known as dAIS.
“We want to ensure our talented Indigenous sportspeople have the opportunity to compete at the highest level,” Ms Ley said.
“In 2014-15 we provided more than 500 people with assistance to compete in national competitions across Australia as well as international championships through Elite Indigenous Travel and Accommodation Assistance Programme.
“Sports such as Basketball and Touch Football were well represented as were a wide variety of sports.
“We welcome applications for 2015-16 as we look forward to the next wave of Australian Indigenous champions.”
To be eligible to apply for an Elite Indigenous Travel and Accommodation Assistance Programme grant, an Indigenous sportsperson must:
- be an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
- be participating as an athlete, coach, manager or official in:
- an official national championship endorsed by the relevant ASC recognised national sporting organisation (NSO) or School Sport Australia (SSA)
- an international competition as a member of an official Australian team endorsed by an ASC recognised NSO or SSA
- be 12 years or older at the time of the competition (exceptions may be made for SSA championships)
- be competing in junior or open level competitions
- have completed and submitted an EITAAP application before the event (or within two months of the completion of the event)
- have out-of-pocket expenses for travel and accommodation.
Application forms can be downloaded from the Australian Sports Commission website.