More young people will look to travel or move to towns like Alice Springs given the lack of opportunities for sport, skill development and entertainment out bush.
“Amidst the media focus on youth crime, positive youth programs and activities are in danger of being lost,” says Anangu youth worker Shalaylee Coombes in a media release from the NPY Women’s Council.
Seven remote youth programs are facing imminent closure amidst the banning of the remote community football league in Alice Springs, she says.
Due to static funding with no indexing since 2017, NPY youth programs in Imanpa NT, Irrunytju (Wingellina WA), Mantamaru (Jameson WA) and Papulankutja (Blackstone WA) will be forced to shut down in July.
The MacDonnell Regional Council youth programs in Amoonguna NT, Atitjere (Harts Range NT) and Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa NT) will follow suite.
“While NPYWC has been propping programs up financially from savings, the ever increasing costs now make these programs financially unviable.
“Youth programs in remote communities offer young people activities, engagement, case management and pathways for education and employment,” says Ms Coombes.
“Without these programs, community life can be fairly bleak. Young people are engaged and encouraged through youth programs with sport, culture and bush trips, health and social programs, discos, pizza nights, all the things young people in urban and regional centres have ready access to.”
The Alice Springs Town Council’s ban of remote community football being played in their Alice Springs facilities is underscored by the lack of field and support infrastructure out bush to play these games, says Ms Coombes.
“Many communities lack properly maintained ovals, properly accredited umpires and support staff to help run a smooth and safe competition in community.
“Even access to proper first aid and emergency services to deal with sporting injuries is not guaranteed.”
She quotes Selwyn Gaykamangu from the Amata Young Suns football team: “There’s two things that I think can bring people of any background or colour together: Sport and music.
“In the APY lands we have our amazing music that brings us together, and football.
“When the fellas set their mind on winning a premiership, they become driven and motivated. They want to train and stay healthy. It brings them pride. Having that taken away has made us feel like we’re not worth it.”
NPYWC will be hosting a women’s tri-state Nines competition on March 30 and 31 at one of the few “comp ready” ovals out bush, in Yulara.
PHOTO from NPYWC.