Public servants channel the meaning of NAIDOC
The Attorney-General’s Department has secured bragging rights for the next year after it defeated 29 other government agencies to become this year’s APS NAIDOC Touch Football Carnival champion today in Canberra. They beat last year’s champions, the Department of Parliamentary Services, 6 tries to 4.
Special mentions go to Department of Finance for taking out the Division Two Cup, beating the Australian Federal Police 7 tries to 4. The Department of Social Services beat the Australian Bureau of Statistics 8 tries to 4 to take the Division Three Plate.
Now in its 17th year, the carnival raises awareness of and celebrates the history, cultures, achievements and continuing contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within the public service.
The event has grown into one of Canberra’s largest NAIDOC Week events with 450 public servants taking part this year and showing support for the theme ‘Voice. Treaty. Truth. Let’s work together.’
The tournament opened with a Welcome to Country by Ngunnawal Elder Aunty Jude Barlow.
“Sport plays an important role in modern culture, especially for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. There are so many talented Indigenous athletes out there, who are fantastic role models for our youth,” said carnival founder Cris Castro from the Department of Education.
Australian Public Service Commissioner Peter Woolcott noted the strong camaraderie of spirit in which the teams played. The Commissioner played in the carnival for the first time and challenged other agency heads to pull on a jersey in 2020.
“The annual NAIDOC touch football competition is an opportunity for public servants, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to build valuable relationships and learn from one another” Mr Woolcott said.
“The Australian Public Service has a proud history of supporting NAIDOC Week and listening to and promoting better understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues,” he said.
Cris Castro was impressed to see the creative ways agencies represented this year’s NAIDOC theme on their jersey designs.
“The Department of Education’s jersey was designed by Anmatjere and Alyawarra employee Bianca Brim and represents clans meeting to tell their stories, their connection to land and the hope that Government will listen and work with Indigenous Australians for a shared future,” said Mr Castro.
The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science was awarded the inaugural ‘Best Spirited Team’ prize, introduced this year to recognise the team that best embodies the spirit of the event by showing a positive attitude and respect for other players and referees.
The event was supported by the Canberra Raiders, with players Joey Leilua, and Brad Abbey attending the event.
The success of this year’s event is thanks to the joint efforts of the Department of Education, the Australian Public Service Commission and Touch Football ACT.