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Saturday, June 06 2020 @ 08:10 pm ACST

Not Long now: Football themed learning and leadership centre taking shape

AustraliaIn a recent article about Maningrida Footy in the Northern Territory, the Michael Long NT Thunder Learning and Leadership Centre was mentioned as a link to allow young players from remote communities to follow the talent pathways on offer for Australian Rules football. It has proven difficult for young players, indigenous and non indigenous, to make the transition to the demands of life playing football away from home. This centre will greatly assist young players in that transition to hopefully go on to play at the highest level.

“Essendon legend and AFL great Michael Long met Regional Australia Minister Simon Crean and Indigenous Health Minister Warren Snowdon in Canberra to discuss progress on the Michael Long NT Thunder Learning and Leadership Centre in Darwin.

At Parliament House, Mr Long, a dual premiership player and Norm Smith medallist, outlined the construction timetable and unveiled the logo for the centre.

Mr Long said he was delighted to update Mr Crean and Mr Snowdon on the progress of the project.

“I am delighted with the final design of the logo as I believe it encapsulates both the essence of the project and the spirit of the Territory,” Mr Long said.

“The release of the logo and branding is an important step as we progress to commencing construction, as planned, in April.

“I remain grateful for the continued support provided by the Federal Government, the Northern Territory Government, the Aboriginals Benefit Account committee and the AFL, who share my vision and passion for the project.”

Mr Crean said the Learning and Leadership Centre represented a major partnership investment in the future of young Indigenous Territorians.

“I was at TIO Stadium last July to announce this $15 million project, of which the Federal Government is investing $11 million. I was also in Darwin in November to look at the plans,” Mr Crean said.

“I’m thrilled to hear construction will commence in April, and that the centre is on track to open in May 2014.

“This centre is about harnessing the passion for sport but channelling it into life skills to reinforce the importance of education and closing the gap.”

Mr Snowdon said when complete, the centre will be a place for young people to learn life skills through a combination of sport and education.

“This project joins the dots between having broad benefits for young Territorians, leveraging other funding sources and delivering a strong social and economic dividend. It's also an example of a project located in a capital city, but one that services remote centres right across the Territory,” Mr Snowdon said.

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