Health and Wellbeing Queensland is joining forces with Netball Queensland to deliver a program that uses sport to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls on and off the court.
The prevention agency is investing close to half a million dollars into the Diamond Spirit program over the next two years through the partnership, announced on Close the Gap Day.
The Diamond Spirit program uses netball to engage, empower and educate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls in remote and regional communities across Queensland.
Health and Wellbeing Queensland Chief Executive, Dr Robyn Littlewood, said the $400,000 investment over two years would help Diamond Spirit grow its footprint in remote and regional Queensland.
“It’s so important we create culturally supportive and safe opportunities for our First Nations girls and women to play sport, understand the importance of health and wellbeing, and keep involved in sport as they grow,” Dr Littlewood said.
“We know adolescent First Nations girls have lower levels of participation in organised sport than boys of their age, and lower participation than non-Indigenous girls and boys. Participating in sport is not just about playing the sport, it is also about the community it builds, and the opportunities it can bring.”
Dr Littlewood said the program provided a supportive pathway for girls to get active through netball – and the benefits reached beyond the court too.
“Participants are empowered to stay healthy and achieve their full potential in the classroom and in their future careers,” Dr Littlewood said.
“We know the program has been successful since it was first delivered in 2017 and we look forward to supporting its success into the future.”
The Diamond Spirit program currently operates across Far North Queensland, including the lower Gulf and Cape regions, as well as through two dedicated school sites in Cairns and Ipswich.