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Eagles take another step towards reconciliation

Rhys Dickinson  July 13, 2017 10:45 AM

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West Coast Eagles and Wirrpanda Foundation representatives helped launch the Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan last week

The West Coast Eagles and Wirrpanda Foundation launched the 2017-20 edition of its industry-leading Reconciliation Action Plan during the Town of Bassendean’s NAIDOC celebrations last week.

Players including Lewis Jetta, Malcolm Karpany and Liam Duggan joined the likes of West Coast community and game development general manager Richard O’Connell and Wirrpanda Foundation founder David Wirrpanda, chief executive Lisa Cunningham and mentors Jamie Bennell, Troy Cook and Jarrad Oakley-Nicholls to launch the updated version of the RAP.

The third edition of the club’s reconciliation blueprint will see the West Coast Eagles and the Wirrpanda Foundation move to implement a ‘Stretch’ Reconciliation Action Plan, which hopes to build on the objectives achieved in previous RAPs.

Since establishing its first RAP in 2014, the West Coast Eagles have ticked off several reconciliation milestones, including the introduction of a Welcome to Country video at every home game and regular community engagement visits to some of Western Australia’s most remote Indigenous communities.

In the same period, the Wirrpanda Foundation has helped more than 125 Aboriginal job seekers gain employment, the organisation’s Deadly Sista Girlz’s program has reached more than 500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls nationally and 82 job seekers have commenced the Aboriginal Driver Training Program to gain their provisional driver’s licence.

O’Connell said the club was incredibly proud to launch its latest RAP.

“The document has been developed in partnership with the Wirrpanda Foundation and has been a truly collaborative effort of players, staff, supporters and Reconciliation Australia,” he said.

“We are very fortunate that everyone at the West Coast Eagles and the Wirrpanda Foundation is committed to achieving positive Aboriginal outcomes as a normal part of the day to day, this makes the approach sustainable and enduring.

“A football club is a wonderful environment to foster reconciliation, as it brings together people from all walks of life to share stories, ask questions and form friendships that will last forever. Our RAP reflects this approach of coming together to deliver long-term positive change.”

O’Connell also revealed that the club presented its RAP to Australian Human Rights Commission race discrimination commissioner Tim Soutphommasane.

“He was highly complimentary of our approach, in particular our willingness to build upon past plans and voluntarily stretch ourselves further,” O’Connell said.

CLICK HERE to read the club's 2017-20 Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan.