Rugby League star helps Inland Rail announce milestone partnerships for First Nations communities

International Rugby League great Greg Inglis, founder of the Goanna Academy, has helped Inland Rail celebrate two milestone partnerships that will help improve the education, life skills, self-esteem, and employment prospects of First Nations youth in regional communities on the Inland Rail alignment, at a special event in Albury.

March 6, 2024

Melvyn Maylin, Inland Rail Project Director, in the process of catching a ball thrown by Greg Inglis, Founder of the Goanna Academy.

The Goanna Academy aims to improve mental health outcomes across Australia and particularly in regional men, youth, and First Nations people.

At the Albury event, Inland Rail announced that we are extending our partnership with the Clontarf Foundation, that provides education and training to First Nations young men, for a further two years, having started working with the organisation in 2021.

In addition, Inland Rail also announced a two-year partnership with the Stars Foundation, which provides in-school mentoring for First Nations young women, providing pathways into the construction and rail industries for young women from First Nations communities.

To help celebrate this double milestone day, Greg Inglis joined Inland Rail representatives at James Fallon High School for a Rugby League Carnival, with Clontarf Foundation students from Albury and surrounding academies taking part.

A State of Origin legend and former Kangaroo, Greg put the students through their paces with a fun training session and took the opportunity to speak about his own mental health journey.

Inland Rail staff received a tour of the respective Clontarf and Stars rooms on campus and took the opportunity to meet with students and staff.

For more information on the Inland Rail Skills Academy, visit the Inland Rail Education and Scholarships page.

Nick Miller, Inland Rail Chief Executive, said:

“Inland Rail is proud to support Clontarf Academies and now the Stars Foundation along the rail corridor in New South Wales. These partnerships are helping to boost school retention, develop leadership skills and create pathways to employment for First Nations regional youth.

“So far, our partnership with the Clontarf Foundation has supported over 1,000 First Nations young men, and we are honoured to commence a new partnership with the Stars Foundation to support young women in regional New South Wales.

“Our goal is to support the wellbeing, education, and career aspirations of First Nations youth, and to provide training to young men and women in regional communities to get them job ready and connected to employment.”

Greg Inglis, Goanna Academy founder, said:

“We often face crossroads in our lives and being able to share my journey and spread the message about preventative mental health strategies as well as connecting with our young people is something I am passionate about as they are our future.

“It is truly humbling to engage with our young men in Albury, to be involved with the partnership between Inland Rail and the Clontarf Foundation is inspiring.

“Together, we have the potential to create so many opportunities for our youth to empower, thrive, succeed, and proudly uphold our cultural heritage.

“Emphasising the importance of mental health strategies and recognising the strength of communication adds another layer to this transformative journey for our young people.

“Thank you to Inland Rail for allowing me to be part of the journey, here is to many more.”

About the Goanna Academy:

The Goanna Academy aims to improve mental health outcomes across Australia and particularly in regional men, youth, and First Nations people.

The Goanna Academy proudly has Cody Walker, Latrell Mitchel, Jakiya Whitfeld and Kennedy Cherrington as ambassadors, each delivering programs for positive mental health and wellbeing across schools and communities.

The Goanna Academy programs aim to:

  • Help end the stigma surrounding mental health and reduce suicide in Australia by providing people with tools and support to prevent and reduce the number of those affected.
  • Deliver comprehensive, high quality and integrated mental health programs in community-based settings, building social capacity and promoting help seeking behavior.
  • Develop Goanna communities including community leadership and Goanna Academy Mentors.

Learn more about Inland Rail

Image caption: Melvyn Maylin, Inland Rail Project Director, with Greg Inglis, Founder of the Goanna Academy, at the Clontarf Foundation event. (Source: Inland Rail)

Media Centre

March 6, 2024