Aboriginal programs

The department focuses on creating environments to increase Aboriginal participation in organised sport and active recreation. This includes athletes, coaches, officials and administrators from grassroots programs through to elite competition.


Participation in sport and recreation plays a vital role in improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people and their communities. It provides a range of benefits including increase self esteem, social cohesion, better health and overall wellbeing.

From grassroots to elite athletes

Additional support and funding for programs has been allocated through a number of sports and associations to support the development of programs and participants from the local community level, through to elite athletes. Supporters include:

Nicky Winmar Carnival and Kirby Bentley Cup 

These key WA football carnivals involves members of the Aboriginal community at all levels including players, coaches, umpires and administrators. The carnivals encourage youth to actively participate in sport and understand how important support roles are important to run successful teams. They help participants gain skills, play competitively and have the opportunity to be selected for development pathways.

More information about the Nicky Winmar Carnival and Kirby Bentley Cup.

Aboriginal Grassroots Netball Program

Delivered by Netball WA, this program increases opportunities for Aboriginal players to progress through talent pathways from community participation to high performance athletes, volunteers, coaches and administrators. Grassroots clubs gain capacity to join mainstream competitions which increases cross-cultural awareness, skill levels and accreditation opportunities.

The program also partners with Netball WA to run the successful annual NAIDOC Netball Carnival.

Netball players on court at the State Netball Centre during NAIDOC Week 2015

NAIDOC Netball Carnival

Supported by the department, the NAIDOC Netball Carnival is a highlight of the netball calendar, where teams, officials, volunteers and spectators come together to celebrate sport, cultural diversity and friendship.

The 2018 Carnival attracted over 100 teams and 3000 spectators, with funds raised going to the Aboriginal Grassroots Netball Program and NAIDOC All-star team.

NAIDOC Basketball competition with paricipants playing at the Bendat Basketball Centre

NAIDOC Basketball Carnival 

The NAIDOC Basketball Carnival is an initiative Basketball WA has developed in partnership with the department. The carnival aims to support increased participation in playing, coaching and umpiring while celebrating the significant contribution Aboriginal people have made to the Western Australian community. 

For more information about the NAIDOC Basketball Carnival

Optus Stadium

After obtaining conditional consent to use the Burswood site to construct the Optus Stadium, the State drafted a Aboriginal Heritage Management Plan and Aboriginal Engagement Strategy. Done in consultation with the Whadjuk Working Party this ensures ongoing engagement, management and heritage protocols are adhered to.

Local Sporting Champions

The Local Sporting Champions program is an Australian Government initiative designed to provide financial assistance for young sportsmen and women aged 12 to 18 years. If successful, applicants receive a $500 grant that can be used towards the cost of travel, accommodation, uniforms or equipment when competing, coaching or officiating at an official national sporting organisation endorsed state, national or international sporting champions or a School Sport Australia, State, national or international championships. 

The Australian Sports Commission provides more information on the  Local Sporting Champions Program.

Page reviewed 12 September 2022