Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Netball Australia announces support for Indigenous players through declaration of commitment

Netball Australia announces support for Indigenous players through declaration of commitment
September 29, 2020

Peak organisations in Australian netball have pledged to take significant action to break down the barriers that have prevented Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players, coaches, umpires and administrators from reaching their full potential in the sport.

In an historic move, 20 national, state and territory based and club bodies have signed a Declaration of Commitment which requires the entire netball system to understand and then resolve the issue of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander under-representation at elite levels.

Sparked by recent debate around Suncorp Super Netball’s Indigenous Round - where the only Indigenous Super Netball player, Jemma Mi Mi, did not play - but also building from the stories and experiences of former players and officials, the Declaration is described by Netball Australia “as netball’s first unified response to this critical issue”.

The agreement is the result of intensive discussion in which key decision-makers turned the microscope on the system and also themselves. This delivered a series of reflections and insights including:

• We acknowledge that netball hasn’t fully addressed the barriers that confront Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our system, and we apologise for this. 
• We know it is unacceptable to have only one Aboriginal player within the Suncorp Super Netball league, but our challenge as a sport goes far beyond what happened to one player in a single game. 
• We understand that strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation rates and talent within our grassroots and state and territory competitions are not translating into our elite pathway. 

In June, Netball Australia made a public commitment to listen, learn and change by engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and hearing about their experiences within netball. This work continues.

In July, the independent State of the Game review launched a root-and-branch assessment of Australian netball. This includes research into the structural and behavioural barriers that limit opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to reach their full potential in our sport.

Advising that it was time for the sport to take responsibility in this space, Netball Australia Chief Executive, Marne Fechner stated “today is significant, because for the first time the entire netball system is saying 'enough'.

"We will no longer tolerate systems and processes that alienate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples.

"And we will no longer tolerate a fragmented approach, that allows us to say that it is someone else's responsibility."

Netball Queensland in particular has faced a lot of criticism, as the organisation linked to Mi Mi's Super Netball team, the Firebirds.

A number of former players from Queensland have spoken out about mistreatment and challenges they faced playing netball in their elite pathways - issues that ultimately led to them dropping out of the sport.

Eugenie Buckley, Chair of Netball Queensland, said that while there was plenty of work to be done, the sporting organisation hoped the announcement would demonstrate its willingness to commit to action.

Buckley told the ABC “talk is cheap if there is no action.

"So if there's a section of the community that don't feel like they belong in the sport, it's up to us to fix the problem.

"We are happy to sit down and be held accountable. This is a great first step."

Netball’s Declaration of Commitment has many elements, but the early phases will focus on understanding further the experiences of players, coaches, umpires and administrators in our system, identifying the barriers to greater Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation and creating sustainable change plans.

Images: Top, courtesy of Netball Australia and below, Marne Fechner.

Related Articles

27th September 2020 - Agreement to see Super Netball players receive at least 90% of their full salaries

16th September 2020 - Brisbane’s Nissan Arena to host Super Netball Grand Final

1st September 2020 - Indigenous Affairs Advisor Leanne Brooke to Co-Chair NBL’s Reconciliation working group

29th August 2020 - Netball Australia selects Stacey Marinkovich as new Diamonds Head Coach

28th August 2020 - Super Netball commits to matches in Cairns and Townsville

21st August 2020 - AFL will not use Aboriginal flag during Indigenous Round

15th August 2020 - Funding allows Knox Regional Netball Centre upgrades to be fast-tracked

24th July 2020 - Netball Tasmania launches 2020 season

19th July 2020 - Interstate teams to relocate to Queensland for Super Netball competition

2nd July 2020 - RAC Arena reopens with exhibition netball game in front of a crowd

30th June 2020 - Netball Australia looks to secure 2027 Netball World Cup for Sydney

18th June 2020 - Netball Australia to join National Redress Scheme

31st May 2020 - Suncorp Super Netball announces details for 2020 season start

15th May 2020 - Netball Australia releases guidelines for safe return to community netball

13th May 2020 - Suncorp Super Netball advises clubs of no team training until 31st May

21st July 2019 - Evonne Goolagong Cawley launches National Indigenous Tennis Carnival in Darwin

29th May 2019 - ESSA launches Reconciliation Action Plan during National Reconciliation Week

10th July 2018 - Sports Commission acknowledges Indigenous Australians’ contribution to sport

17th February 2017 - Super Netball ready to build on growing interest in women’s sporting competitions

25th July 2016 - Basketball facility opens at Mutitjulu indigenous community in Northern Territory

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

29th May 2015 - Netball Australia commits to Reconciliation Action Plan

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


As of the 1st July 2018, Enta Australasia Pty Ltd/Best Union has been rebranded as Vivaticket Pty Ltd.  Vivaticket is the ideal strategic partner for the organisation and management of your…

read more

Attractions / Entertainment / Sport / Ticketing / Venues


TicketSearch Pty Ltd

TicketSearch is focused on providing businesses, organisations, and venues with affordable, efficient, and powerful self-managed ticketing solutions. The organisation has offices in Australia, New…

read more

Attractions / Entertainment / Technology / Ticketing / Venues


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


Aflex Inflatables

Aflex Inflatables are the leaders for obstacle courses, pool toys, waterparks and land-based watersides and fitness runs. They are industry leaders offering the widest range of pool, lake and beach…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Waterparks



Gladstone Health & Leisure (Gladstone MRM Pty Ltd Australia) is a leading supplier of leisure management and fitness software and is endorsed by leading health and fitness professionals and…

read more

Access / Billing / Fitness / Technology / Venues


Enta Australasia

As of the 1st July 2018, Enta Australasia Pty Ltd/Best Union has been rebranded as VIVATICKET Pty Ltd.  Click here to view the VIVATICKET Pty Ltd listing.  19th July 2018 - ENTA…

read more

Technology / Ticketing / Venues


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


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