Titans highlight club focus on reconciliation

ALEXANDRA WELLS

The Gold Coast Titans launched their third Reconciliation Action Plan last week showcasing the club’s commitment to involving reconciliation in their business and culture.

Titans Reconciliation Action Plan

The Reconciliation Action Plan was created by the Titans’ RAP Working Group (pictured) and multiple Gold Coast Indigenous organisations. Photo: Alex Wells

 

The launch of the plan included a performance by the Wajin Dance Crew, a showcase of local Indigenous artworks and a panel interview featuring club players Jamal Fogarty and Brian Kelly.

The club’s Reconciliation Action Plan reflects on the Titans’ history with reconciliation and their promise to close the gap in health and education between Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people.

The newest instalment of the club’s reconciliation plan is known as the ‘Stretch’ instalment and aims to develop long-term commitments and reconciliation for the Indigenous community.

The new plan features a commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment rates at the Titans, implements an Acknowledgement of Country at the start of every club meeting and event, and ensures new commercial partners are given the opportunity to undertake two cultural activities each year.

Previous instalments of the plan had the club complete their ‘Reflect’ and ‘Innovate’ sections of the plan.

These earlier sections of the plan ignited the Titans’ Indigenous high school programs, helped launch their annual NAIDOC events in partnership with the Preston Campbell Foundation and the Kalwun Health Corporation, and started their annual Indigenous jersey artist competition.

The Indigenous high school program, Deadly Futures, encourages students to connect with their culture and helps students choose pathways leading to success.

Last year, Holly Summers, a Deadly Futures Program student, went on to win the NRL’s Young Person of the Year award for her community work and involvement in the NRL.

Speaking at the launch, Gold Coast Titans Chairman Dennis Watts said the Reconciliation Action Plan document was a reflection of the Titans’ proud relationship with the Indigenous community.

“This is a living, breathing document that captures the club’s commitment to reconciliation,” Mr Watts said.

“The Titans are committed to closing the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, and this document is proof of that,” he said.

This year, the Titans have 11 Indigenous players in their 35-man squad, which equates to 31.14 per cent of the team.

Since the club’s inception in 2007, three of the five club captains have been Indigenous, showcasing the previous plan’s commitment to Indigenous representation in the club.

“These numbers and statistics show a great record of our club being leaders in the game,” Mr Watts said.

Since 2007, the Titans have maintained a strong relationship with the local Yugambeh people.

Yugambeh Elder Uncle Ted Williams said at the launch the Titans had been leading by example in their commitment to reconciliation.

“The impact the Titans have for Indigenous kids on the Gold Coast and Northern New South Wales is immense,” Uncle Ted Williams said.

“They can see the change and now know that they can do it and that they have a chance,” he said.

“It’s not an empty promise.”

The Wajin Dance Crew

The Wajin Dance Crew performed a traditional dance at the launch of the Titan’s Reconciliation Action Plan. Photo: Alex Wells

 

Gold Coast Titans CEO Steve Mitchell said the Reconciliation Action Plan was a way for the Titans to use their influence and exposure for good.

“We believe it is our obligation to lead best practices in the reconciliation space and this RAP [Reconciliation Action Plan] challenges us to use our exposure through the NRL to achieve that,” Mr Mitchell said.

The Titans have been involved in numerous initiatives in the Indigenous sector since the club’s inception, including the foundation of the club’s charity, Titans Together, which has helped donate thousands of dollars to Indigenous organisations since 2007.

The foundation also created the Acknowledgement of Country video that is played at the start of every home game.

Additionally, all staff members and players receive Indigenous cultural training annually in partnership with the Dreamworld Corroborree.

Titans Foundation player and club ambassador Preston Campbell also started the popular NRL’s All Stars game, which features an all-Indigenous team.

Preston Campbell said he was proud of the Titans’ involvement in the Indigenous sector since their very first game.

“They [the Titans] have always set the bar in terms of the contributions they’re able to make with different groups,” Mr Campbell said.

“What people don’t know is the Gold Coast Titans have been doing this way before they had a RAP, this just makes it official,” he said.

“I’m very happy that the Gold Coast Titans are so committed to the Indigenous community.”

Community and Game Development General Manager Renee Cohen said the club was excited to showcase the plan and their commitments.

“We are really proud of all of the work we have done to advance reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, both in and out of the NRL,” Ms Cohen said.

“This plan has given us the opportunity to look back and reflect on the things we have done really well over the past few years,” she said.

“It also gives us the space to reflect on areas that we can continue working on and improving.

“We take great pride in the responsibility and influence we have in this sector, it’s not something we take lightly.

Ms Cohen said the club had a really strong history in their relationship with the Indigenous community.

“We host annual NAIDOC events, Indigenous jersey competitions and we partner with local Indigenous businesses,” she said.

“It’s something we want to keep developing and making stronger.”

Titans staff and players attend the NAIDOC event with community members each year.

Last year, more than 1500 people attended the annual NAIDOC event at Firth Park in Mudgeeraba.

The event showcases cultural arts and craft stalls, traditional music and dance performances, traditional food and cooking displays, as well as a touch football challenge.

Titans Community Programs and Development Officer Matthew Ash said he was proud of the Titans’ successful initiatives.

“We have Acknowledgement of Country videos that we play at home games, high school programs, staff and player cultural training and Indigenous jersey competitions,” Mr Ash said.

“It’s very exciting to see the Titans not only promise these initiatives, but also continue to follow through with them,” he said.

“It’s very easy to put this document together and then forget about it, but the Titans are very proud of our relationship with the Indigenous community and are committed to following through on our commitment to reconciliation.

The Gold Coast Titans’ Reconciliation Action Plan can be found on their website.

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