Premier Denis Napthine was on Wednesday joined by AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou and Minister for Education Martin Dixon at Debney Meadows Primary School in Flemington, to announce a competition for Victorian school students called One Team, One Goal – Celebrating Diversity.
"With more than 26 per cent of Victorians born overseas, cultural diversity is one of Victoria's greatest assets and something that we should celebrate and be proud of," Dr Napthine said.
"The AFL is a leading organisation in promoting diversity through initiatives such as the Indigenous Round. Sharing these values will be integral to the way students across Victoria interact with others, during and after their schooling years."
"The One Team, One Goal – Celebrating Diversity competition will help students gain a full understanding the importance of cultural diversity and the harm that can be caused by bullying and intolerance," Dr Napthine said.
Mr Demetriou said the AFL was proud to partner with the Victorian Government to encourage inclusion through the One Team, One Goal competition.
"Australian football has the extraordinary power to bring people together and break down social barriers regardless of background," Mr Demetriou said.
"Through our support for this Victorian Government initiative we want to help raise awareness about the importance of inclusion and tap into the creativity of Victoria's young people to promote the countless benefits of this state's rich cultural diversity."
Australia Post AFL Multicultural ambassador Bachar Houli and AFL Coles Indigenous programs ambassador Shaun Burgoyne attended the event, and encouraged all Victorian schools to take part in One Team, One Goal.
Primary students will be asked to create a poster reflecting the themes of the competition – diversity, inclusion and multiculturalism – while secondary students will produce a logo, with the winning design to be printed on AFL Sherrin footballs.
With the National Day of Action against Bullying coming this Friday, Minister for Education Martin Dixon encouraged schools consider getting involved in the One Team, One Goal initiative.
"Every Victorian school has a strong student wellbeing focus, and the Coalition Government is committed to ensuring schools are safe, inclusive and supportive environments for learning," Mr Dixon said.
Minister for Sport and Recreation Damian Drum, a former AFL player and coach, said today's partnership highlighted how sport continues to play an influential role in celebrating diversity.
"In team sports, it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from, only that you're on the same team working together for a common goal," Mr Drum said.
"Taking this sporting philosophy to the classroom with the backing of high profile AFL players is a message that will resonate around Victorian schools."
The winning entry in each category will receive a $5,000 grant for their school, a football clinic with one of the AFL Australia Post Multicultural Ambassadors, 50 tickets to an AFL match during Multicultural Round, and an opportunity to meet the Premier at Parliament House.
One Team, One Goal is now open to all Victorian school students and entries close on Friday 23 May.