Marles supports AFL in Solomon Islands
5 September 2011
During his visit to Solomon Islands on the weekend, Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs Richard Marles met young Solomon Islands AFL players, as well as coaches and members of the Solomon Islands AFL Committee (SIAFL).
The visit follows Mr Marles’ recent co-signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Australian Football League’s International Development Manager, Mr Tony Woods.
Under this MOU, the Australian Government will work with the AFL to support the development of the code overseas. The AFL will also assist the Government to promote trade and investment, using Australian football as a platform.
Mr Marles said the MOU formalises the continuation of the close working relationship that has emerged between the Australian Government and AFL in the past two years, resulting in several joint activities.
These include the AFL game between Pacific and Indigenous Australian teams at the Pacific Island Forum in Cairns in 2009.
“The MOU recognises that the AFL is growing internationally and we hope our continued collaboration will help develop the game’s export potential,” Mr Marles said.
Mr Marles recognised the natural sporting talent of Solomon Islanders and said Australia was committed to helping develop sport in the country. Australia is already promoting AFL in the Pacific, including Solomon Islands, through the Australian Sports Outreach Program and Australian Volunteer positions.
SIAFL Development Officer, Mr Job Vulita, and SIAFL Australian Volunteer, Mr Eddie Burton, said SIAFL and players were honoured that Mr Marles would take the time to visit them and were sincerely grateful for the support that the Australian Government was providing. SIAFL presented Mr Marles with a Solomon Islands Sharks AFL jersey, as a token of their appreciation.
Mr Marles also took to the field to impress Solomon Islands’ young players with his own kicking and marking skills.