Indigenous Australians and Sport

Indigenous Australians and Sport          
Prepared by  Prepared by: Chris Hume and Christine May, Senior Research Consultants, Clearinghouse for Sport, Sport Australia
evaluated by  Evaluation by: Professor Colin Tatz, Visiting Fellow, Politics and International Relations, Australian National University (December 2016), Dr Paul Oliver, Director, Oliver and Thompson Consultancy (January 2017)
Reviewed by  Reviewed by network: Australian Sport Information Network (AUSPIN)
Last updated  Last updated:  28 May 2019
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Community Sport Coaching
Sport Australia


The Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people possessing diverse languages and customs are one of the world’s oldest continuous cultures with a history dating back more than 50,000 years.  

There is a recognised 'gap' between the health and wellbeing of Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations in Australia. Indigenous peoples as a cohort generally fall short of the expected indices measuring the wider population health and wellbeing of all Australians. Australian governments at all levels are committed to ‘Closing the Gap’ of indigenous disadvantage in areas such as: preserving and celebrating indigenous culture; child mortality; education; employment; economic development; healthy lives; and building safe and strong communities. 

There is broad cross-government support and action, through a range of sport and active recreation policies, programs, and funding initiatives, to actively contribute to improving the health and well-being of Indigenous Australians.

Key Messages 


The Australian Government and all State and Territory Governments are committed to Closing the Gap of indigenous disadvantage.


Sport, and sport-related programs, can assist in engaging Indigenous communities, developing wellbeing, and play an important role in progress towards Closing the Gap targets.


Sport needs to work closely with government and non-government programs to harness opportunities and assist in delivering long term outcomes.

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The Clearinghouse for Sport acknowledges the Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and South Sea Islander peoples as the traditional custodians of the land in which we live and work.




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