Latest News

Back to Latest News back


ESSA launches Reconciliation Action Plan during National Reconciliation Week

ESSA launches Reconciliation Action Plan during National Reconciliation Week
May 29, 2019

Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA), in consultation with Reconciliation Australia, is officially launching its Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). ESSA considers National Reconciliation Week (NRW), which runs annually from 27th May – 3rd June, to be a time for all Australians to learn about the shared histories, cultures and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

“ESSA recognises the need to continue to bridge the long-standing disparities in health status that exist between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the rest of the Australian population, through both our organisation and our professionals,” says ESSA Chief Executive, Anita Hobson-Powell.

“Through its RAP, ESSA aims to continue engaging in meaningful conversations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to strengthen the relationships that exist between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the wider Australian population in helping to close the health gap.”

Physical inactivity is a leading risk factor in poor health among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, with its effects manifested through a range of diseases, most notably heart disease (55% of the burden attributed to physical inactivity) and diabetes (33%).

“The health gap is large, which not only sees our people dying much younger, but also suffering from a poorer quality of life for the decades leading up to their death,” says Ray Kelly, a Kamilaroi man with 28 years’ experience in the health industry and a member of the ESSA RAP working group.

“The good news is that Aboriginal peoples are motivated to get healthy. This can be seen in NSW with the Aboriginal Knockout Health Challenge each year. If it's one thing Aboriginal peoples know, it is diabetes and heart disease, and no one wants it.

“Even greater news is that Aboriginal peoples who have a chronic disease respond very well to lifestyle interventions. Our people do suffer from type 2 diabetes and heart disease at a lower BMI, but we also require less weight loss to turn this around,” added Kelly.

A step in the right direction of reconciliation and breaking down the systemic constraints is recognising that past government policy has led to the displacement of many groups, and a loss of culture.

“We also need to understand, when implementing effective lifestyle programs, that all Aboriginal peoples are not the same. We come from hundreds of different nations, all with different languages and spiritual beliefs,” explains Kelly.

“We do, however, have strong community ties, so helping one person will almost always cause a major ripple effect. If I were to have success with one Elder, I would be more likely to not only have other Elders improving their health but also their children and their grandchildren.”

It’s important when discussing reconciliation and closing the health gap that we focus on the positives and refocus the conversation on strengths and success. The launch of the Reflect RAP will provide ESSA the time and opportunity to build the foundations for relationships and respect, as well as lead and create real change around health and well-being for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“As the accrediting body for exercise and sports science professionals, it’s important that we have a better understanding of our cultural ways of being and how this knowledge can be adapted to the way we provide sport, exercise and exercise physiology services,” adds Hobson-Powell.

 “We are extremely proud of this document that our working group have worked tirelessly on developing, and we look forward to progressing forward with our RAP framework and the commitments we have made.”

Click here for more information on the ESSA Reflect RAP.

Image courtesy of Amanda James.

Related Articles

10th May 2019 - ESSA focuses on Active Ageing during Exercise Right Week 2019

21st March 2019 - ESSA highlights the role of physical activity in closing the health gap for Indigenous populations

8th March 2019 - ESSA celebrates industry pioneers on International Women’s Day

7th November 2015 - Netball Australia launches inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan

31st May 2015 - Fitness Australia backs National Reconciliation Week

24th October 2014 - Fitness industry takes action on reconciliation

9th July 2012 - Sport unites during national reconciliation week

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

Anti Wave International

Anti Wave International is the original suppliers of top performance swim, aquatic sports, leisure and pool programming equipment. Founded in 1971, Anti Wave International is proud of its…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Sport



Swimplex Aquatics are a world-class company dedicated to the commercial pool, waterslide industry. We are Australian market leaders servicing all states Australia wide. Swimplex provide a full…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Design / Play / Waterparks



Hidroplay welcomes you to the exciting world of children's Playscapes, waterslide's and Water Attractions. Appealing to families, Hidroplay increases patronage in your facility during those…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Recreation


Aussie Strength

We are Aussie Strength. The ultimate supplier for Commercial Gym Equipment that's built to deliver in the toughest environments. From USA-Built hardcore weight training equipment from Arsenal…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness



A leading designer and manufacturer of innovative waterslides and attractions, Australian Waterslides and Leisure (AWL) is also able to advise clients in the areas of concept and design, feasibility…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Play / Waterparks



Over the past 10 years Debitsuccess has been providing expert billing services to businesses across Australia. Debitsuccess is now the largest full service direct debit provider in Australasia,…

read more

Billing / Finance / Fitness / Golf / Recreation


SeatGeek Asia Pacific

SeatGeek is a search engine and mobile-focused ticket marketplace that allows fans to buy and sell tickets for live events. As of August 2018, SeatGeek has exited the Australian, New…

read more

Entertainment / Sport / Technology / Ticketing / Venues


Goplay Commercial Playground Equipment

Goplay designs and manufactures specialised playground equipment for indoor play centres, hotels, food chains, clubs and resorts. If our years of experience and dedication have taught us one thing,…

read more



get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business