More than 100 special guests joined the Cowboys Community Foundation in officially opening NRL Cowboys House today – a purpose-built boarding facility designed to accommodate Indigenous students from remote communities throughout North Queensland.
With dignitaries from the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys, Australian and Queensland government and the NRL, the $9.5 million facility is managed by the Cowboys Community Foundation, the charity arm of the Cowboys, with financial and other support from the NRL.
The first 25 students from north-west and Far North Queensland have already settled into the House, located in Townsville, and are currently attending various local secondary schools.
North Queensland Toyota Cowboys CEO Greg Tonner said that NRL Cowboys House aligns with the club’s strong track record in understanding and supporting the North Queensland community.
“Through our Cowboys Community Foundation, we want to provide our communities the greatest chance for success, and together we have created an opportunity for the next generation to achieve,” Mr Tonner said.
“NRL Cowboys House is more than bricks and mortar, it is a home through which young North Queenslanders, through access to education, can build a brighter future for themselves, their families and their community.”
The House is a joint initiative between the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys, National Rugby League and Queensland and Australian Governments.
Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion said that NRL Cowboys House would give students from remote communities an opportunity to fulfil their potential, providing them with a chance to study, undertake training and find a job.
“This is only the beginning and the hard work starts now. Governments can build the bricks and mortar but it is the people involved who will ultimately lead to successful outcomes,” Minister Scullion said.
“Next year, 25 more students from the remote communities will join the first intake at NRL Cowboys House.”
Queensland Minister for Housing and Public Works and Minister for Sport Mick de Brenni said the House was a smart long-term investment for State Government.
“Nothing has the power to transform lives more than education, and NRL Cowboys house is an innovative way of supporting young people through their final stages of schooling,” Mr de Brenni said.
Expanding on the power of the rugby league brand and its connection to North Queensland communities, member of the NRL Commission and Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Committee, Professor Chris Sarra also had positive words for the joint education initiative.
Professor Sarra said the new facility would provide the quality of care and support needed to ensure participating students reached their potential.
“North Queensland is rugby league heartland and students at NRL Cowboys House can follow role models such as the Cowboys’ Johnathan Thurston and be anything they want to be,” Professor Sarra said.