Red Dust Heelers Response to “Sacrificing the Olympic Dream,” May 22, 2015

Unfortunately this article was only this week brought to my attention after being reposted on a player’s Facebook page.

While ‘Not The Footy Show’ cannot be responsible for the reposting, the blog does need to be corrected as the content is incorrect, however I would like make a few points.

The Outback Academy Australia is a not-for-profit organisation that hosts the Red Dust Heelers (RDH) NWBL team and linked disability inclusion programs in communities across Australia. The Red Dust Heelers give up home games and take on the costs of running community engagement programs prior to NWBL Rounds. They also run stand-alone programs in communities that would otherwise have no exposure to disability sports and recreation.

The facts are in 2014 the team entered the NWBL through South Australia as the host organisation. SA would not have been able to enter the League as they had not raised the funding required to enable NWBL participation, in fact they had not been in the NWBL for several years prior for the same reason. At this stage the rules required registration through an existing Wheelchair Sports State body (since changed).

So in its first year and with a sponsor that was committed for one year only in return for work done by the Outback Academy in 2014, the Red Dust Heelers entered the NWBL and were the only team that did not charge players for participation, in fact also providing 5000 to the host organisation for administration. This was well above what was needed for the cost of administration.

Outback Academy paid all amounts owing to BA before the beginning of the 2015 season. Any suggestion that we owe anyone any money in relation to the 2014 season is incorrect

We want to note that the South Australian players were fantastic in their commitment to the team values, and interactions with other players joining RDH from different states.

We were all devastated when the mining downturn occurred and our 2015 sponsorship went with it. Outback Australia Academy could not carry such a large group of players from a different state any longer, and a streamlined 2015 season had to happen funded privately by families connected to the team. This is testament to the commitment of the Red Dust Heelers community and belief in the efficacy of the work being done in communities with Indigenous and other youth with disability across Australia.

It is always difficult for all Clubs to raise funds in this area of sports and recreation. I hope in the coming years that we can be part of an NWBL and community that works together to grow participation and awareness of disability in an environment that is safe and welcoming for young people to join.

Outback Academy Executive Director, Clare O’Kelly

Not the Footy Show acknowledges that there are no monies owed by Outback Academy Australia in relation to the Red Dust Heelers.

Red Dust Heelers Response to “Sacrificing the Olympic Dream,” May 22, 2015

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