Extra health focus to make Murri League Carnival a winner

The popular, four-day Queensland Murri Rugby League Carnival will join in the fight against sexually transmitted and blood-borne diseases, as funding from the Australian Government cements the future of the nation’s largest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smoke, drug, alcohol and sugar-free event.

Page last updated: 12 June 2018

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12 June 2018

The popular, four-day Queensland Murri Rugby League Carnival will join in the fight against sexually transmitted and blood-borne diseases, as funding from the Turnbull Government cements the future of the nation’s largest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smoke, drug, alcohol and sugar-free event.

Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM, said the $607,350 funding over three years ensured the event could build on its extraordinary sporting and health success, but with an additional focus on deadly communicable diseases, including the syphilis outbreak in North Queensland.

“The popularity and reach of the Murri Carnival makes it an ideal platform to raise awareness and help combat the sexually transmitted and blood-borne diseases that some communities are fighting,” said Minister Wyatt.

“Using the messaging and clinical power of the carnival will also complement the current surge response to the syphilis outbreak.”

For thousands of First Nations people – including over 50 teams and around 1,600 participants from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities across Queensland - the carnival is an annual highlight.

“Importantly, there are clear health outcomes aligned with the event,” Minister Wyatt said. “Every player must receive a health check prior to participation and for those still in school, an attendance rate of 90 per cent is required.

“At the same time, the estimated 20,000 First Peoples who attend the carnival can access health screens on the grounds, with many previously undiagnosed and serious health problems being identified.”

Today’s funding launch was held at the Wynnum Manly Seagulls Rugby League Club and attended by Brad Beetson, son of league legend Arthur Beetson. The Arthur Beetson Foundation stages the carnival, along with the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council, Queensland Rugby League and the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health.

Member for Bonner, Ross Vasta, said the promotion of healthy lifestyles had a positive impact.

“From juniors competitions upwards, league builds fitness, motivation and mateship that contributes to wellbeing among local communities across Queensland,” Mr Vasta said.

Aside from its focus on health, the Murri Carnival also showcases up and coming sporting talent.

“Both the NRL and the QRL now recognise the importance of the carnival as a player pathway,” said Minister Wyatt.

“With the event going to Townsville this year, it will also be able to capitalise on the success of the Deadly Kangaroos game held in North Queensland as part of the recent World Cup.”

The Murri Carnival is being funded under the Australian Government’s Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme (IAHP).

“Under the IAHP, we are working with First Nations people to provide access to high-quality, comprehensive and culturally appropriate primary health care services across Australia,” Minister Wyatt said.

“The Turnbull Government is committed to Closing the Gap on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life expectancy and this funding will contribute to achieving those goals.”

In response to the current syphilis outbreak, the Turnbull Government is contributing $8.8 million to an intensive campaign to combat the disease, in conjunction with local communities and State and Territory governments.

The Government announced $3.9 billion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health in the 2018–19 Budget.

The Murri Rugby League Carnival will be held in Townsville in October.

For more information visit the Murri Rugby League website.

Media contacts:
Minister Wyatt – Nick Way 0419 835 449
Ross Vasta MP – Yvonne Tran 3893 3488


Authorised by Ken Wyatt AM, MP, Member for Hasluck.

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